NICIL harvests over 350 acres of rice from Wales Estate

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The National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) has harvested over 350 acres of paddy from lands at the former Wales Sugar Estate in its first 2020 crop.

According to a statement from the Government’s holding agency, it cultivated some 400 acres of rice but some plants were affected by a fungal disease.

Supervisor of the Wales Rice production facility, Charles Brown said the facility was able to secure 28 bags per acre before milling and 26 bags after.

“While we did not achieve a 100 percent yield, we were able to achieve a great production, thus resulting in the investment that we made paying off significantly…Looking at the previous crops that we had planted I must say that this was our best production,” the Supervisor said.

Supervisor of the Wales Rice production facility, Mr. Charles Brown (NICIL photo)

In addition, Brown said the yield of the national staple was sold at a higher price under “better arrangements, agreements, and accommodations” with several of the country’s millers and planters.

NICIL said this was done despite the COVID-19 pandemic since the nature of the rice industry – from cultivation to milling- precludes close interaction by workers, a requirement under COVID -19.

“You must understand that rice production is one crop which sees workers not generally being close to each other as during the production the workers work far from each other so even before COVID the workers are doing physical distancing and that is why COVID didn’t affect rice in any way. Further, even to those operating the machinery also operates apart from each other so there is no need for workers to be together. As we continue to battle COVID it will help us to ensure that whatever we do, we keep the physical distancing etched in our minds,” Brown was quoted saying.

The former Wales Sugar Estate Office that now accommodates the Wales Rice Production (NICIL photo)

Brown anticipates reaping the full acreage planted this year and expressed pleasure with the novel transition of sugar to rice.

“We are planting 510.8 acres as we are seeing that rice is a good return for us here as such, NICIL is doing everything necessary as it continues to diversify in a number of areas,” Brown declared.

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