Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and recent floods, Guyana’s rice industry remained resilient and raked in close to $40 billion (US$189,232,690) from the export of 412,810 tonnes of rice for the period January to November 2021.
This is a significant improvement from the $30 billion (US $144,178,325) earned during the same period back in 2020.
In a report shared with the News Room by the head of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) Kuldip Ragnauth, Guyana’s rice production as of December 26 stood at 886,882 tonnes.
The floods, though devastating across some sectors, mildly affected Guyana’s rice sector.
Some 200,000 acres of rice were sown from January to June but by the time the floods came in July, rice farmers had managed to harvest almost 95 percent. However some 3,000 acres were lost.
The GRDB’s report was keen to note that harvesting for the second crop is still in progress; some 97 percent of the 90,000 acres have been gathered. And now, the GRDB is looking ahead to 2022, with sowing for the first crop currently ongoing.
The rice industry’s growth continued from the first half of the year; the Ministry of Finance’s Mid-Year Report for 2021 indicated that the rice industry grew by an estimated 7.8 percent.
Additionally, in that same period, Guyana managed to secure two more international markets for the nation’s rice.
The two new international markets were established in the British Virgin Islands and Slovenia, with exports of 12 metric tonnes and 250 metric tonnes of rice delivered. And now this has brought the total number of foreign markets to 37.
And further, the key initiatives were undertaken for the development of the industry including strengthened support to the farmers, designs of the soil and value-added laboratories, a national monitoring program for paddy bug and red rice management demonstrations, along with the re-introduction of farmer’s field day and soil testing.
The GRDB has also been providing technical advice on crop management to low-yielding farmers to increase their productivity of paddy cultivation.
And major focus will be placed on the strengthening of the post-harvest and value-added capabilities of the rice industry in the New Year.