GEORGETOWN: Guyana has produced in excess of 500,000 tons of rice so far this year and Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy is predicting that total production could reach as high as 600,000 tons.
“On Monday the 21st October, for the first time in our history, we reached a goal which many persons in this country said would be impossible, and those who believe it was possible thought that it would not happen till 2020,” said Dr. Ramsammy. “On the 21st October 2013, Guyana surpassed 500,000 tons of rice in our production. At the present time we are approaching 522,000 tons. I used that number because last year’s production was 422,000 tons, it was a record and for us to break that record, with more than 100,000 tons is an astounding story, one that all of Guyana should be very proud of.”
So far this year, Guyana’s rice production is 514,000 tons and Ramsammy said that there are still about six to seven per cent of the cultivated lands yet to be harvested. He expects the final figure to reach 600,000 tons.
“Indeed I would say to everyone that should we be able to find the markets, not the market that would take our rice, because we have enough people who want our rice, but the markets that would pay us the price we want for our rice, then we can reach 600,000 tons within the next year or maximum two years,” he said.
Ramsammy said the increase in rice production is not as a result of increased acreage, but as a result of higher yields.
“We consistently now surpass five tons per hectares, that used to be another magical goal that we are now reaching routinely, and we believe that we can reach six tons per hectares,” he said.
Ramsammy said the Ministry of Agriculture is working towards that, “because if we can do that, that is another 100,000 tons without adding more land, and that would mean that our cost of production would go right down and allow us to compete with other countries on the world market”.
Guyana had two successive years (2011 and 2012) of production of more than 400,000 tons of rice.