A new paddy variety, already bearing the nickname “Guyana Pride,” has been introduced to rice farmers and could prove popular given its resistance to rice blast disease and its potential to produce 45 to 55 bags per acre.
Called GRDB 15, it is an early duration variety that matures between to 105 to 110 days.
The release of the new variety comes at a time when Guyana is enjoying its best rice production figures, with export earnings totalling over US$200 million last year.
“It is foreseen that this variety will be a good economic choice for the farmers and there will be a rapid expansion of acreage across Guyana,” said Dr Mahendra Persaud, Chief Scientist and Plant Breeder at the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB).
Last year, Guyana saw the highest export figures of an estimated 640, 000 tonnes of rice.
The GRDB 15 variety produces a long, slender grain with five percent more yield than the other varieties in the industry and is ideal for the international market, Dr Persaud stated.
He said it would not be surprising to see the variety claim 30% of the cultivation in the next three seasons and is expected to increase national productivity to six tonnes per hectare in the next six seasons.
Leekha Rambrich, President of the Rice Producers Association, noted that it has been four years that a new variety was not released in the system and he referred to the GRDB 15 as an excellent variety.
The GRDB 10 produces an average of 40 bags per acre.
General Manager of the GRDB, Nizam Hassan, encouraged farmers to “speedily” procure their seed paddy. He said the new variety will be available to farmers at the same price of other varieties.
Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder said that the GRDB will continue to invest in research to develop new varieties.
In addition, he said the Ministry of Agriculture is developing more lands for rice production.