The Board of Directors of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has recently taken a decision to afford farmers throughout the rice growing region, access to fertilizer through a credit system. To this end, farmers’ have since been able to access fertilizer (6: 25: 25) and repay the board at the end of each crop.
General Manager (ag), of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Ms. Allison Peters in an invited comment stated that the move by the government is in response to a much-needed assistance to the farming community.
“What we have seen as of recent is the escalating fertilizer price and one which has had a negative impact on production and by and large productivity….with the implementation of this system, farmers can now access fertilizers and pay at the end of the crop,” the General Manager (ag) said.
Thus far, 3675 bags of fertilizer have been sold in Region 6 and 1013 in Regions 2 at a cost of $5500 per bag. The Board is also presently looking at incorporating a transportation plan to get the fertilizer to farmers in Regions 2.
“There is no limit to the amount of fertilizer farmers’ can request. However, we are targeting rice farmers with the aim of ensuring that they not only have access to the commodity but also with a view to ensuring that production levels continue to climb,” Peters stated.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister, Hon. Noel Holder stated that the industry can expect similar moves in the near future as the Ministry of Agriculture continues to look at ways in which assistance can be given to farmers.
He added that since the implementation of the “fertilizer on credit” system, there has been a significant reduction in the cost of fertilizers by the private sector.
Thus far, the Ministry of Agriculture has received support from rice farmers who welcomed the program, alluding to that fact the it has been supporting their trade.
“The Rice Board has been looking at ways in which agriculture in Guyana can be sustained, through a cost-effective approach and in doing so, the board also looks at ways in which the Ministry can step in and assist farmers in plying their trade,” Minister Holder said.
The Minister stressed the need to improve productivity, noting that for this to be achieved improved management practices, seed rates, sowing methods, and disease management must be addressed.
The Ministry of Agriculture has been playing a lead role in ensuring that the necessary systems are in place to assist farmers countrywide and has been diligently employing various technologies in the effort to reduce the negative impact adverse weather conditions and to boost productivity.
The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) is also pursuing diversification into specialty rice varieties, with increased emphasis on the development of value-added production such as rice/wheat flour blend, rice noodles, pasta and pre-cooked rice products this year.