Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stifle the growth rates for sectors such as forestry and mining, Guyana’s rice industry seems to remain on target for another year of commendable performance. In fact, harvesting of the 2020 first season paddy crop, which accounts for half of the annual production, is virtually complete and yields of the harvested crops are similar to the record high yields obtained in 2019 which stood at approximately 500,000 tonnes. Making this revelation recently was the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations which leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security.
The specialized agency noted that the improvement of extension services of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) and the expansion of public agricultural investments supported crop yields. The Guyana Standard understands that planting of the 2020 second season paddy crop is ongoing under slightly dry weather conditions.
Further to this, it was noted by the agency that sowings are expected to increase compared to the record level in 2019 due to improved financial gains for farmers, prompted by strong demand for exports. The United Nations body said that precipitation amounts are forecast to increase in the June-August period across the main producing coastal areas, which are likely to support crop germination and development.
With respect to annual production, this the organization said, is expected to increase for the fourth consecutive year and reach 1.1 million tonnes, about 15 percent higher than the five-year average. As for rice exports, the agency said that this has been on the rise over the past three years due to increasing production and are forecast to continue rising in the 2020 marketing year (January/December). This news site understands that rice exports in 2020 are forecast at 530 000 tonnes, more than 20 percent above the last five-year average.