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General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Nizam Hassan said that of the projected 91,072 hectares for the first rice crop, 61 percent or 47,000 hectares   has been harvested.

“We are looking good in terms 0f the overall yield notwithstanding that El Nino has had an effect on production… it has improved slightly. The average yield per hectare has gone up. Our national average was five-and-a-half tonnes… moved to 5.9 tonnes and this has been attributed to more day light, sunlight hours during production,” Hassan related during an interview with Government Information Agency (GINA).

The GRDB General Manager reported that all of Guyana’s rice export markets have been serviced.

“At the end of March, we exported 93, 582 tonnes which is six percent more that the corresponding period for 2015 which was 88,286 tonnes. Similar to what had happened in the latter part of last year, notwithstanding we had increases; there was a decline in the prices because right now we are exporting at world market prices.”

Hassan explained that early in 2015 higher world market prices were paid internationally. However, he assured that the GRDB, the Ministry of Agriculture and all the relevant stakeholders are working towards getting better prices for Guyana’s rice.

“We are talking to various persons and companies who have an interest in our rice and rice products because some of our buyers have said to us that our rice taste different and this is used as a marketing tool in other countries,” he said.

Hassan indicated that the administration continues to seek additional markets for Guyana’s rice. He reported that the GRDB recently signed agreements with two Jamaican companies to purchase 80,000 tonnes of Guyana’s rice, per annum. The companies have agreed to pay the Guyanese millers US$400 per tonne.  “So in our effort at attracting more markets, better paying markets, these are some of the things that are being done,” he said.

Additionally, an agreement was also signed with Panama for the purchase of over 11,300 tonnes of rice per annum from Guyana. Fifty (50) percent of this contract has already been serviced.

The GRDB continues to offer technical and other forms of support to farmers and other stakeholders in the rice industry to improve yields and secure better prices.

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