Guyana says it has developed a new variety of rice that could result in the industry benefitting significantly in the future.
Agriculture Minister Noel Holder has described the new paddy variety, “GRDB 15”, as another step in the evolution of the country’s rice industry.
“GRDB 15” is a high yielding variety, that provides more bags per acre, which translates into increased income for farmers and millers,” he said.
“Guyana’s rice farmers will have the potential of realising yields of up to eight tonnes per hectare; provided that the recommended farming practices are incorporated.
“The ultimate goal of nearly all we do in the Ministry of Agriculture is to reduce the level of poverty while increasing incomes. With this new variety on board, we expect the national production to increase considerably,” Holder said.
The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) said that between 1997 to 2015, it released 14 varieties of paddy resulting in significant increases in productivity over the last decade, from 3.8 tonnes/hectare (24 bags/acre) in 2000, to 5.5 tonnes/hectare (35 bags/acre) in 2017.
It said the “GRDB 15” paddy variety has withstood 33 trial tests at the Burma Rice Research Station and with farmers across the country, before its final release.
The Rice Research Station is responsible for the creating new varieties to benefit farmers and other stakeholders, The GRDB said it is currently spending an estimated GUY$150 million (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents) annually to maintain a breeding programme.
It said that more than GUY$300 million had been spent developing the new variety.
Source: the Antigua Observer.
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