The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has embarked on a mission to increase awareness of the significant benefits and opportunities of its Rice Value Chain.
Earlier Thursday, several stakeholders, especially those in the baking industry, were educated on the various opportunities that the gluten-free, value-added rice flour has to offer and the opportunities and effects of rice in the kitchen.
During a PowerPoint presentation, Research Assistant of GRDB, Gangadai Dindayal said the board is now encouraging the development of value-added products and rice-based products to increase local product diversification, allowing for the for nutritional fortification, adding value for farmers and millers and enhancing marketability. Dindayal noted that value-added and rice-based products will also create employment and provide a source of income to Guyanese.
General Manager of GRDB, Nizam Hassan said the Board has spent several years on production-oriented research, which have been seeing much success. He said, “over the last few years, we have been doing research on what we term downstream processing and value addition for rice… because this is an area that we deemed very important and necessary for further development of the rice industry,” the Manager emphasised.
In her feature address, Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture, Hon. Valerie Adams-Yearwood, applauded the initiative by the GRDB, nothing that with the new venture the ministry hopes to put Guyana on a path that will encourage the development of value-added rice-based products.
Minister Adams-Yearwood said it is important to note that the venture will not only increase Guyana’s local product diversification but also allows for nutritional fortification.
“Today’s showcase is a testament to government’s further developing the industry by promoting research and development in areas such as the manufacture of products and byproducts at all levels.”
The Minister highlighted that economically, re-introducing rice flour into the market will result in a decrease in the importation of wheat flour, further resulting in a reduction of Guyana’s overall import bill. Value-added rice and rice-based products will also create employment and serve as an additional source of income to those who get involved in the production chain. The industry will also increase the shelf life of products made from rice while reducing the importation of these products from other countries.
“It is no secret that the rice industry is on an upward trajectory with continued investment positioning rice to sustain economic growth in the future. During his 2019 budget presentation, Finance Minister Winston Jordon alluded to the fact because of the continued efforts and commitment of the nation’s rice farmers, the industry is projecting promising growth, more so by 2.7% in 2019. This, he stated, is because farmers are recognizing productivity gains due to better practices and improved varieties. Improved production levels mean increased opportunities for the production and, in the future, exportation of rice flour and by-products.”
Stakeholders took the opportunity to sample some of the edibles prepared with the blended flour. There were also other goods on display, promoting options for a healthier lifestyle.