With rice cultivation remaining the main source of economic activity in many rural farming communities, some $20 million has been set aside in the 2022 budget for the procurement of a seed dryer for Black Bush Polder, East Berbice Corentyne.
The announcement was made by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh during the presentation of the 2022 fiscal plan in the National Assembly on Wednesday where he noted that more than 600 rice farmers in the area will benefit.
In addition, a mini testing mill (polisher) will be acquired to analyse the quality of cargo rice and paddy.
Also, in anticipation of expanded production six drying floors the government through the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) will expend over $300 million in plant breeding, agronomy, plant pathology, entomology and valued-added products as part of its research and development thrust.
Dr. Singh said that with drying floors in Regions 2, 3, 5, and 6, this year two additional drying floors will be added in Regions 3 and 4.
Additionally, efforts to secure new markets will continue, with the British Virgin Islands, Estonia, and Slovenia secured recently.
“Government’s immediate priority is to help our rice farmers recover from the aftermath of the 2021 floods as quickly as possible, and then to continue to expand cultivation and production, including more value-added varieties and products. In 2022, a total of 185,000 hectares is slated for cultivation with plans to expand by 8,000 hectares to 193,000 hectares by 2026,” Dr. Singh said.
Focus in 2022 will see improved drainage and irrigation to mitigate losses, and expanded research on new high yielding varieties, and seed production.
In this regard, soil testing facilities were made available to farmers through the construction of a soil laboratory at the Burma Rice Research Station last year.
Also, a value-added laboratory for rice and rice products was completed.