Record 304,000 tonnes rice exported, earns US$136M
By Leonard Gildarie
Despite suffering from a severe drought and then heavy rains coming during the latter part of he year, rice exports for the year, buoyed by excellent yields, have seen the country exporting a record 304,000 tonnes for the year.
Authorities were estimating that it would have earned US$99.5M for the year but later revised this to US$121M.
Instead, according to figures of the Ministry of Agriculture as of December 3, Guyana had earned US$136.7M from rice exports alone.
For the first and second crops, targets for the country were set at an unprecedented 343,000 metric tonnes.
This was later revised upwards to over 356,000. Actual production as of December 3, was 356,458 metric tonnes and according the Ministry of Agriculture, it is the hope that rice exports could reach as much as 365,000 metric tonnes before the year is over.
Yesterday, commenting on the figures, the Ministry said that while the excellent figures included rice carried over from last year, it is clear “testimony” of the confidence of the industry by both farmers and government.
“Government on one side has made significant contributions to the industry. On the other side, farmers and other stakeholders have both worked hard and we are seeing the results.”
Following a signing of a lucrative rice deal last year between neighbouring Venezuela and Guyana, farmers who traditionally have depended on millers and middlemen to sell their rice, also had the opportunity to tap into that market.
“This has also served to propel farmers to plant even more,” Persaud noted.
In the first crop of the year, while 55,300 hectares were targeted to be planted, actual figures indicate 63,803 hectares being sowed.
In the second crop, more than 71,000 hectares were planted-4,000 hectares more than the target.
Rice, on the global market, affected floods and Asia and other disasters in producing areas, have been inching upwards in past months.
Farmers crying for more money to keep their heads above water in the past weeks were reportedly receiving in excess of $3,000 per bag of paddy, up from a dismal $2,000 to $2,500 they were getting earlier this year.