Breakthrough hybrid rice will double local yields – Persaud
By Leonard Gildarie
A landmark arrangement has been struck with the Chinese government that will see assistance from that country to double the local rice production per acre using the latest in rice variety.
In addition to training, farmers will benefit from the transfer of new scientific methods.
China is known for breakthrough new farming and other technologies.
This, according to Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, is all part of an enhanced package of cooperation with China.
The Minister made the disclosure yesterday at his Regent Road office shortly after the Chinese Embassy presented the Guyana Government with 138 pieces of farming equipment, including 100 generators.
The equipment costs in excess of $7M.
Persaud only returned Monday from China following a visit there to explore areas of cooperation.
Making the presentation of the equipment to the Ministry at the Bourda office yesterday, Chinese Ambassador to Guyana, Zhang Jungao, noted that the initiative is an indication of the strong relationship shared between Guyana and his country
The donation, which followed a visit in August of a Chinese delegation, included also 9 small land tillers and 27 gasoline-driven water pumps.
According to the Ambassador, Guyana and China have enjoyed relations for the past three decades with cooperation on a number of projects.
The Minister noted that the donation from the Chinese Embassy is timely, in light of the current El Nino conditions and as a result, several hinterland areas will be benefitting.
According to the Minister, his recent trip to China has resulted in several areas that the Chinese have agreed to cooperate on.
In addition to new farming technologies, the fact that China has over 1.4 billion of its citizens to feed is testimony to the success of that country in the areas of food security and agriculture.
China has also agreed to lend additional support in equipment and machinery for large scale farming. Persaud pointed out that with the agricultural diversification drive and the initiative to export more food, an element of mechanization will have to be introduced.
China has managed to develop several varieties of rice, some of which are known as hybrid rice. These disease-resistant varieties which offer a far better yield than the ones on Guyana, will also be made available to this country in a technology transfer basis.
So far, Guyana has only managed to squeeze around 5.2 tonnes per hectare. China scientists have managed to double the yields to over 10 tonnes per hectare.
Additionally, the Minister acknowledged, there is the fact that Guyana lacks in its research capacity. China will play a role in assisting the agriculture industry to improve its research institutions.
China has also agreed to provide Guyana in technical and other assistance in the development of aqua-culture.
China, Persaud said, has done well for themselves in the aqua-culture field as 60% of their fish protein comes from local farmers.
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