Guyana recorded highest rice production in 2008
The rice production for 2008 exceeded the anticipated quota, earning a whopping $118M for the country, and is recorded as the highest in the history of Guyana.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, the production for 2008 was 329,239 metric tonnes (mt).
Of this amount, exports totalled 196, 233 mt.
This amount outshone the 321,000 mt projected in the 2008 Budget.
Speaking with the media during a press conference, Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud said that to facilitate a reduction in the cost of production, paddy, rice, machinery, equipment, or components used in the generation of renewable energy in the agriculture sector using agricultural bi-products were zero rated in terms of Value Added Tax (VAT).
Farmers’ ‘field schools’, the mechanism used in the transfer of technology, Persaud added, were expanded countrywide from 36 in 2007 to 51 in 2008.
In 2008, 1,038 farmers were trained during these sessions.
“Trials were conducted to develop new disease-resistant varieties; two new varieties would be released in the second crop of 2009.”
These varieties, he added, are now being tested in semi-commercial plots in ‘farmers’ fields.’
“Sixteen basic seed plots, six advanced yield trials, eight fertilizer trials and thirteen on-farm testing of the new lines were done in farmers’ fields.”
In 2008, the Plant Breeding Department screened 500 advanced experimental species of rice from the Latin American Fund for Irrigated Rice (FLAR) program, and 20 of these were tested in ‘farmers’ fields,’ the Agriculture Minister added.
“Continuous screening and testing of all new pesticides is done at Guyana Rice Development Board to ensure that it is safe to be used in rice production and trade.”
Persaud pointed out that negotiations were recently concluded for a project on food security enhancement for nine hinterland communities.
This will see the establishment of a rice and peas cultivation programme.