Dec 17, 2014 News
– Rice hits highest production at 633,000 tonnes
Rice production has surpassed last year’s 530,000 tonnes, reaching an unprecedented,
record-breaking 633,000 tonnes. Along with that and other record-breaking performances, the agriculture sector is on track to be this year’s highest average contributor to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), overtaking the extractive sector, as gold mining, which has been reigning supreme for the last seven years as the biggest foreign currency earner, fell to an unsettling low.
A reduction in the world price of gold has badly affected earnings in the extractive sector this year.
According to Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, to date some 99 percent of the 2014 rice harvest has been completed – 100,000 tonnes more than last year.
By the end of the year, Guyana is also set to achieve record exports of 500,000 tonnes. In dollar amount, paddy sale by farmers would exceed US$45M, with export earnings over US$250M.
According to a Government statement, the only concern for the industry has been that whilst there have been many successes, some millers have not yet paid off the farmers and as of December 14, outstanding payment from millers to farmers was about $3.5B.
“The Ministry, however, has already commenced a number of interventions to ensure farmers are paid. This includes a specially convened meeting with the millers and working out an arrangement whereby the Ministry, through the errant millers, can supply 700,000 tonnes of fertilisers to farmers, charging $5,000 per bag. The latter is part of ensuring some of what the millers owe to farmers is discounted through the process.”
This year also, Government provided $500M as support for the rice industry. The bulk of this money was spent on the provision of additional structures at the Number 56 rice seed facility, which was originally build under ADP/IDB funding, that provided only for the construction of the factory. This year, the money was spent to add other structures such as the silos and testing facility.
The remainder of the $500M is being spent to purchase equipment including lasers and combines to support especially small farmers. It is expected that the Number 56 seed facility will become operationalised by 2015, providing quality seed paddy to farmers, the Minister said.
Meanwhile, the sugar industry is said to be making a recovery and is set to achieve its 2014 target of 216,000 tonnes. On Sunday, production was 212,000 tonnes, some 4,000 tonnes shy of the target.
“At the moment, the industry has already surpassed the 2013 production by more than 10 percent, meeting the first of 2014 objectives – to pass the 2013 production.”
In other areas, this year also saw the increased production of all meats. Guyana produced more, 30 million kilograms of chicken and 2.5 million kilograms of beef. The performance of the latter was the largest production of beef in the last decade.
Meanwhile, pork production is set to surpass 500,000 kilograms and small ruminants, 100,000 kilograms. Twenty million eggs were produced this year, whilst milk production is set to exceed five million litres.
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