As government continues to push for research and development in the rice sector, rice farmers in Guyana have pushed that average closer to 40 bags of paddy per acre come the first crop of 2018 which is already 98% harvested.
This demonstrates an increase by 10 bags per acre as the national average stood at 30 bags per acre a few years ago. With this notable increase, rice farmers across the country have expressed delight and satisfaction with the work and dedication of the Guyana Rice Development Board through its research and extension services.
The Board’s most recent report, which was completed at the end of May 2018, indicated that rice farmers produced 495,000 tonnes of paddy thus far for the first crop of 2018. This quantity is expected to exceed 500,000 tonnes by the completion of the remaining two percent to be harvested.
GRDB General Manager, Nizam Hassan indicated that Region 4 continues to stand out with farmers producing almost 7 tonnes of paddy per hectare with harvest figures at99% complete.
“A comparison of lands cultivated during the first crop last year revealed that for the first crop this year, farmers cultivate in excess of 2000 acres less, and still realized a yield that almost matches that of the 2017 first crop figures. So far, these increased yields have been rewarded at the mills with farmers supplying GY $17.2B worth in paddy. This is one billion dollars more in earnings than what farmers received for the first crop in 2017 when 2000 more acres were harvested.” Hassan said.
GRDB’s report also revealed that in Region 2, of the 13,484 hectares harvested, farmers got a yield of 5.9 tonnes per hectare. In Region 3, the yield was 5.49 tonnes per hectare, while in Region 5, the yield was 5.9 tonnes per hectare with five percent of the lands still to be harvested. Region 6 recorded yields of 5.7 tonnes per hectare with just two percent of lands still to be harvested.
Notwithstanding the increasing costs of production, farmers have expressed confidencethat the industry is progressing.
While a small percentage of farmers are still to harvest 43% of the country’s paddy, many farmers have already began sowing for the second crop this year. According to Hassan, predictions are that a total of approximately 89,000 hectares will be cultivated. So far nearly 53,000 acres have already been sown.
“With farmers across the country planting the newest high yielding variety, GRDB 15, the Board anticipates that farmers will again be moving the national average in the right direction come the second harvest of 2018.” Hassan said.