Rice cultivation to exceed 710,000 tonnes by year-end

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha

Guyana’s rice sector is experiencing a remarkable increase in production with cultivation set to exceed 710,000 tonnes by year-end.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha made the announcement during a community engagement at Number 10 Village, Region Five, on Tuesday.

“We planted 206,000 acres. I am hoping that the second crop of 2024, we can increase that to almost 230,000 acres so that at the end of the year we can surpass the figure that was set in this year’s budget of 710,000 tonnes,” Minister Mustapha noted.

Highlighting the sector’s growth trajectory, Minister Mustapha explained that just four years ago, yields averaged approximately 4.5 tonnes per hectare.

The country has managed to elevate its yield to 6.5 tonnes per hectare, despite challenges such as paddy bugs.

“We have been increasing production in the traditional area,” Minister Mustapha added, noting substantial progress over the past years.

Just last year, the country produced 653,000 tonnes of rice, and 610,000 tonnes the previous year.

Moreover, the minister highlighted a significant increase in export figures, with the first quarter of this year surpassing last year’s exports by 33,000 tonnes.

In pursuit of enhancing productivity, the government is actively promoting the adoption of high-yield rice varieties, including those sourced from Brazil.

Further, innovative initiatives such as biofortified rice, enriched with essential nutrients like zinc, is being undertaken to address public health concerns.

“Persons who suffer from diabetes and heart problems could use that. It is very nutritious…We should not have a narrow vision where we only look at rice production. Rice is important and we should increase rice production, but we have to diversify and go into other areas too that is what we [government] have been doing over the last four years,” the agriculture minister said.

The government’s multifaceted approach to agricultural development has also seen the implementation of initiatives to boost fruit and vegetable production.

Substantial investments were also made in livestock and crop diversification resulting in Region One becoming a hub for spice production and Bonasika Creek undertaking the production of sweet potato, cassava, eddoes, and dasheen crops. These efforts aim to make Guyana a key player in the regional food supply chain. [DPI]