The Mahaica Mahaicony Abary – Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA) seed processing facility will see tremendous expansion this year, with $25 million set aside for major rehabilitation work.
The effort will advance the nation’s rice production significantly, especially since Guyana anticipates new markets, Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha told DPI during an interview on Saturday.
“With this facility, we will be moving just around 10,000 bags seed paddy to about 50,000. So that will help tremendously in Region Five to increase the capacity,” the agriculture minister underscored.
Three companies have already applied to conduct rehabilitation works on the MMA/ADA paddy factory.
The entities include JS Engineering Services & Supplies with a proposed sum of $25.2 million, NK Engineering Services with $47.1 million and DBL Group providing $24.1 million to complete the project.
Additionally, Minister Mustapha said the goal is to make more lands available, although the scheme is known to be the largest rice producing area in the country.
The first phase of the MMA-ADA Scheme was completed since the mid-1980s with a conservancy situated at the headwaters of the Abary River. This phase services approximately 40,000 acres of paddy production from state lands and about another 20,000 acres of private lands within the Abary – Berbice district.
The irrigation system also services some 14,000 acres of cultivation at the Blairmont Sugar Estate.
“We will be starting the second phase shortly of the MMA Scheme, we have started to do work there already and this will help us to help farmers to get enough seed paddy. The Burma Rice Research Station normally produces these seed paddy and we also have private people who are working with us to produce, but sometimes the capacity is not there,” the minister added.
Government had invested $20 million to repair the seed drying facility at Lesbeholden, Black Bush Polder, Region Six, that was left abandoned. The agriculture minister along with his technical team had toured the building and found it dilapidated.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) is tasked with implementing strategic measures to ensure rice production accelerates.
“What we have found is that these seed paddy that is being produced by GRDB, we are having more yield for example in Black Bush Polder, with the common variety that we have, they have moved to about 40 bags per acres.
The new variety that we have planted, the GRDB-16, we have seen the average move to about 30 bags per acres to about 60 bags, and this is good for us as a country,” the minister said.
Minister Mustapha said the aggressive move to ramp up rice production will eventually help with cost reduction, “because if you produce more with the same cost, then the cost of production will come down,” he stressed.
Region Five contributes between 35 to 50 percent of the gross national rice production.