Rice has potential to produce 50% more profits for farmers

Rice production in Guyana has the potential to earn 50 per cent more profits for farmers, according to Chief Scientist attached to Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) Rice Research, Dr Mahendra Persaud.
This prediction was made on Monday while addressing staff at the Burma Rice Research Station.

Chief Scientist attached to Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) Rice Research, Dr Mahendra Persaud

Guyana’s rice production stands at just under 600,000 tonnes annually and even though the aim is to produce one million tonnes by 2025, Dr Persaud said the focus is not only on increasing production but also on increasing profitability.
In 2020, the country produced 687,539 of rice and 559,789 last year with the yield averaging 5.6 tonnes per hectare. The GRDB in its annual report referred to that yield last year of 5.5 tonnes per hectare as being excellent.
However, Dr Persaud pointed out that some countries are yielding as much as 8 tonnes per hectare.
He noted that those varieties take as many as 160 days to be ready for harvesting. Currently, the Rice Research Station is testing a variety which is taking 130 days.
However, there are challenges affecting the development of that variety. “While we are going in that direction, we are having so many other problems, global temperature is increasing; it was around 24 and it is about 22 and Guyana was ideal to maximise productivity. With this temperature, it means that we will lose 15-20 per cent yield because of this stress.”
Nevertheless, the Chief Scientist related he is confident that within a very short span farmers can look forward to the aromatic variety.
“The aromatic variety has the potential of producing 50 per cent more profit for our farmers. The lowest price for the aromatic variety in the Caricom market is around US$600 as compared with US$300-US$400 for the ordinary variety. So, if we can develop that variety, we can have a better price for a portion of our production. I could recall that many farmers thought that this was an impossible task for us to be able to produce aromatic variety. For me, it started more as a passion and now I am proud to say that we are in a good position now that we will be able to release an aromatic variety it will be able to withstand the weather conditions. We are in the final stages of testing,” Dr Persaud assured.
For last year Guyana harvested 861,214 tonnes of paddy producing 559,789 tonnes of rice and exported 435,421 netting US$201 million.