The friendly farmers | Hard-working residents in Hyde Park, Timehri, are proud of their hard work
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Rishi Singh (Carl Croker photos)
Rishi Singh (Carl Croker photos)

By Michel Outridge

ALTHOUGH he is not originally from the village he has since made it his home. Lallbachan Hemendranauth relocated to Hyde Park, Timehri, East Bank Demerara, in 2005.

He is from Canal Number One Polder but resided at Bonasika, Essequibo River for some time before settling in Hyde Park.

The 60-year-old reported that he had to relocate because he wanted his daughter to get access to a proper school, so he had to leave the confines of his village.

Hemendranauth stated that he also used to live at Better Hope, East Coast Demerara.

Unfortunately, his wife passed away when his daughter was just three years old and he ensured that she went to a good private school; she excelled at exams and came out with 16 subjects with all ones and twos.

Rishi Singh’s farm

His daughter wanted to study medicine and was doing just that until they hit a financial wall and she had to switch to accountancy; she is now gainfully employed.

He added that she gave birth to a baby boy recently and he is simply overjoyed to be a grandfather.

Hemendranauth stated that for seven years he worked as a driver with his own minibus for the Chinese company that is building the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), but when that project ended he had to do something else for work.

He has transformed his backyard into a farm, planting eddoes, plantains, bananas, lettuce and other cash crops.

Hemendranauth noted that life in Hyde Park, Timehri, is comfortable and he is quite contented to lead a simple life.

The Pepperpot Magazine also met Annat Seegalam. He is a large-scale lettuce and celery farmer, who was at the time on his farm which is located just behind his house.

He has been a resident of Hyde Park for the past 21 years and used to be working with his father, a farmer too, but he decided to start his own farming.

His dad is a large-scale eddo and banana farmer, who also has a plot of land in Hyde Park.

Seegalam pointed out that he would sell his produce to wholesalers in the city and depending on the price, he would make a profit.

Annat Seegalam

“I saw my neighbour planting lettuce and celery and thought why not, and today it is my main source of income and my 15-year-old son would assist me on the farm and I appreciate that very much,” he said.

The father of three added that he has been a farmer for the past 20 years and although it is hard work, it is his living and he does what he has to do to put food on the table.

Seegalam disclosed that sometimes when the work is overwhelming he would get two or three persons to help him on the farm and give them a day’s pay.

The team also met another villager, a farmer as well, Rishi Singh, who has a large cultivation of lettuce. Singh has only three cottages where he provides living accommodation for workers on his farm.

The 46-year-old stated that this rainy season is not a good time for lettuce and he has suffered some losses due to a shortage of workers; some have gone home for the holidays.

Singh, a mild-mannered man, related that he is looking for a mature couple to live and work on his farm.

He has a two-acre cultivation of lettuce and he needs people he can rely on and who can take responsibility of managing the farm while he is not there.

Annat Seegalam’s lettuce farm

Singh has a plot at Sarah Johanna, East Bank Demerara and has a live-in employee, who oversees the crop.

He has been a lettuce farmer for the past 25 years and resides at the front section of Hyde Park, Timehri Village.

“Depending on the size of the lettuce, it is wholesaled $60 to $100 each and with a crop of 40,000 lettuce I am hoping to make a profit, because since June the rain has battered my crop,” he said.

Singh is from Canal Number One Polder, West Bank Demerara and he started farming at a young age, because his father-in-law entrusted him with his farm and after he passed away on 2017, he began managing the farm.

The father of one reported that he has had a lot of problems with workers because they are not stable and would not stay for very long.

Singh added that farming is not a life of luxury but hard work and when it is sunny, it is a much better condition for the lettuce because it is grown by setting seeds and takes six to seven weeks to fully grow.

He is, however, hopeful that things will work out in his favour.

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