Guyana’s rice production expected to increase to 710,000 MT this year

With significant investments and sustained policy management in the agriculture sector, Guyana’s rice sector is moving apace as the production is expected to increase to 710,000 metric tons in 2024.     

This was underscored by Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha during his budget debates presentation, on Wednesday, at the National Assembly.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha during his budget debate presentation

“And this year, again, we set a target of 710,000 tons to increase production from 653,000 tons. That is the progress I am talking about. We brought out a new variety which is called the zinc-enriched, biofortified rice. Today, those varieties are being given to farmers. That variety will attract preferential prices around the world. That is the kind of thing we are doing,” the agriculture minister further underlined.

In 2023, the rice sector recorded an increase of 7 per cent with a production of 653,706 metric tonnes. This signifies an increase in the production of 43,111 metric tons in 2023 as compared to 610,595 in 2⁰022.

Guyana earned approximately $45.2 billion in exports in 2023 over $3 billion more than in 2022.

Minister Mustapha explained that the PPP/C government will continue to implement various measures to bring immense relief to the farmers, as compared to the previous government where land rental and drainage and irrigation (D&I) charges were increased for the farmers.

In contrast to the previous government where land rental and drainage and irrigation (D&I) fees were raised for farmers, Minister Mustapha clarified that the PPP/C government will continue to undertake numerous measures to provide significant assistance to the farmers.

“The Panama payment is still outstanding, US$7 million. You left the farmers in debt. That is the legacy of the APNU/AFC. But I want to tell you that this PPP/C government will recoup that money for the farmers in our country. Do you remember the pressure you put on the farmers, especially in Region Five for D&I and land rental charges from $3,500 to $15,000? When we took a motion to the Parliament, you used your one seat majority to defeat the motion,” Minister Mustapa informed the House.

As promised, when government assumed in 2020, the D&I charges were reversed to their original rates. As a result of this, almost $1.3 billion was immediately placed into the hands of farmers in Region Five.

Farmers have also benefited from the distribution of seed paddy and availability of more farmlands to increase yields.

A number of facilities have been built and upgraded to aid in the nation’s rice production.

This year, $1.3 billion will is budgeted to be expended by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) to support increased production and productivity of the rice industry.

With a budgetary allocation of $97.6 billion in 2024 to further stimulate the agricultural sector, the government is unwavering in its commitment towards the sector’s transformation diversification, and expansion.