Nickerie, on the north-west coast of Suriname, is a farming district, with bananas and rice the main crops. The rice centre growing centre was Wageningen, on the Nickerie river, started by Dutch colonists in the 1950s, who founded the SML (Stichting Machinale Landbouw, Foundation Mechanized Agriculture) and it became a great success. After independence in 1975 SML was given to the state, but through a combination of factors - bad management, low prices of rice and deprecated equipment - it became bankrupt and is no longer functioning.
The capital of the district, Nieuw-Nickerie, is the second largest city in the country and has a varied population, including East Indian, Javanese, Afro-Surinamese, Chinese, and Portuguese, as is obvious from the Hindu temples, mosques, churches and Chinese stores. Fishermen launch their boats from the mouth of the Nickerie river and the Zeedijk, a dyke just west from there along the sea coast protects the town and the adjacent Corantijnpolder from flooding.
The Corantijn river forms the border with the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, and locals sometimes cross over at Backtrack just to the west of Nieuw Nickerie. Non-residents may not cross here; the permitted crossing is by ferry, 37 kilometres south of town at South Drain, to Moleson Creek in Guyana.