The local rice production, last year exceeded the level set in 2014, as at December 31, 2015, paddy production was 1,058,129 tonnes, equivalent to 687,784 tonnes of rice. This is according to Head of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Nizam Hassan.
He informed the Government Information Agency (GINA) that this figure was 80,840 tonnes or 8.27 % higher than the production of paddy for 2014. In 2014, 977,289 tonnes of paddy equivalent to 635,238 tonnes of rice were produced.
Exports and prices
In terms of exports, Hassan indicated that for the period January – December, 2015, the export figure was 537,334 tonnes compared to 501,208 tonnes for 2014. This figure, he said was 7.21% more that the overall export figure for 2014.
Hassan noted that despite the increase in volume of exports, the value was 11.48% lower than the value for 2014. For the period January-December 2015, the value of exports was US$ 220.85M compared to US$ 249.5M for 2015.
According to the GRDB Head, the price being paid was the major contributing factor for the lower value of the exports. When Guyana exported to Venezuela, the price received from that country was US$760 per tonne of rice, however after the loss of the market, Guyana had to settle for between US $340 to US $400 per tonne.
Guyana last year exported to countries in North America, Latin America, West Africa, European Union and Caricom countries. Of these, the Latin American countries accounted for the largest revenue generation, importing as much as US$99.5M worth of paddy.
The GRDB top official reiterated that the agency and other stakeholders remain committed to finding additional markets for rice producers across the region and further afield.
The agency is also playing an integral role into the research and experimentation of various types of rice to boost farmer’s production through stronger and resilient varieties of rice, across Guyana.
The strains of rice, GRDB 12, GRDB 13 and GRDB 14 will continue to expand in acreages in 2016. Nineteen (19) advanced breeding lines are currently being tested in advanced yield trials in four locations across the country. These candidate varieties will be tested in farmers’ fields, and if found suitable, will be released.
Sixty five (65)advanced breeding lines are currently being tested at the Research Station at Burma. Each season, over 4,000 breeding lines are studied by the team at the Research Station.
The GRDB will be implementing a proactive programme to manage ‘red rice’. Similarly comprehensive studies will be done on the paddy bug menace and its management, aimed at reducing losses.
The Ministry is expected to access at least 500 varieties of paddy from international research institutes and centers this year.