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The local overall rice production is expected to increase as predicted by the end of the year. Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan disclosed that the rice industry is expected to record an output of 602,087 tonnes for 2017.

Aromatic rice, during cultivation at the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) Research Station, Burma, Region Five

Rice at the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) Research Station, Burma, Region Five

This will serve as a 12.7 percent increase as compared to output in 2016. “This is due mainly to an additional 14,000 hectares planted for the 2017 spring crop and a further 74,481 hectares planted in the autumn crop,” Minister Jordan explained.

The Finance Minister said that this anticipated increased output can be linked to the fact that there was an improvement in rice yields. In 2016, Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder had projected increased production output for the rice industry.

Back then, Minister Holder had explained that rice production declined during 2016 significantly due to severe El Nino weather conditions. He had also said that a number of farmers also exited the industry due to the loss of the high-priced Venezuelan market.

However, efforts by private millers and government to support new rice markets in 2017 has contributed to improved rice production. Minister Jordan said that “These developments stem from farmers’ renewed confidence in their ability to access new markets. The recent attendance by the private sector at the Havana International Fair, in Cuba, helped to stimulate further investment in the industry.”

The Government, in preparing its 2018 budget, recognises that one important aspect of strengthening the stability and sustainability of Guyana’s rice sector is to increase productivity per unit area.  Coming on stream shortly, the Government will partner with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), through the Malaysia Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) to update the expertise and technology in rice production.

This will be made possible through a Reverse Linkage Project to the tune of US$863,000. MARDI will introduce innovative rice varieties more resilient and will significantly increase rice yields per unit.

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