Harvesting of the current rice crop is expected to end in less than two weeks, but the
preliminary forecast is that the country will register a record production of more than 627,000 tonnes, a significant increase over last year’s bumper crop.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture yesterday, rice production in 2013 recorded 535,555 tonnes, following the 2012 production of 422,000 tonnes.
Production currently stands at 627,463 tonnes with only “small pockets of areas” in Regions Five and Six remaining to be harvested. Jagnarine Singh, General Manager, Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) explained that these are small farmers who “sometimes go too late.”
In October, the industry broke two records; production, which touched to 600,000-tonne mark and the highest quantity of export. The export volume exceeded 70,000 tonnes, bringing the total number of tonnes exported by October month-end to over 400,000 tonnes.
Guyana has exported 423,900 tonnes thus far for this year and has contracts for 2014 for the delivery of 90,176 tonnes. This means that Guyana would exceed 500,000 tonnes for 2014.
In 2013, export amounted to about 395,000 tonnes, approximately, 58 per cent of which was exported to Venezuela with other significant buyers being Europe, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Caribbean countries.
This year’s rice production will be way above the target projected.
“Somewhere down we were talking about less than the 500,000 tonnes, and even in a revised target we would have gotten 607,000 tonnes,” Singh said. He explained that this revised target was done in August based on what the Board was observing.
The GRDB General Manager noted that the continued increase in production reflects an increase in acreage.
“We would have seen the acreage cultivated growing a little bit; 88,000 acres in the last two years ago,” he said.
On an average, there has also been an increase in yield, from 4.5 tonnes in 2013 to 5.3 tonnes per hectare in 2013, Singh said. Individually farmers are realising about 6 tonnes of paddy per hectare.
The continued record production is a result of the new varieties and the technological packages developed by the GRDB and made available to the farmers, Singh noted.
In addition to that, having the new varieties and benefitting from technology transfer packages such as farmers’ field school, and the extension programme, farmers also continue to benefit from the provision of adequate drainage and irrigation.
Government spent a lot in this regard as part of its risk management to protect farmers against losses, Singh pointed out.
Rice, one of the main staples internationally, has been a highly productive crop in Guyana with 2014, 2013 and 2012 being among the highest yielding years. Rice yield for 2013 surpassed the targeted production of 413,031 tonnes, by 28.17 percent or 116,353 tonnes.
More than 200,000 acres of land was cultivated in 2013, making it also the first time, cultivation acreage exceeded 200,000. Yield overall was five tonnes per hectare, for the first time in Guyana’s history. In 2010, the yield was about four tonnes per hectare. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, yield was between two and three tonnes per hectare.
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