As diversification efforts continue at some sugar estates, government announced today that Wales Estate is expected to harvest between 7000-8000 bags of seed paddy in September.
The crippling performance of the sugar industry had prompted government to find creative ways to cushion the effects by either scaling down production and or diversifying the sector. One of the diversification options was to introduce paddy production at the Wales Estate which halted sugar production last year.
The Government Information Agency (GINA) said that presently 200 acres are under cultivation and that harvesting is expected to begin by the second week in September. With the lands at Wales transformed into rice fields to accommodate diversification of the sugar industry, GINA said that among other things, rice has been determined as one of the feasible avenues of diversification.
GINA noted that the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) 10 variety of seed paddy is currently under cultivation while the 13 Aromatic rice is being considered as another variety to be cultivated at that location. The next crop to go under cultivation will see the beginning of the planting phase in November 2017. Meanwhile, it was also announced that the Corporation’s website is procuring services for harvesting to be done.
Bids are being invited from eligible and qualified bidders for the harvesting of seed paddy. The fields where the paddy is to be harvested is located at Catherina Fields 11 to 16 (56.8 acres), and Vive La Force A Fields 1 East to 8 West (142.9 acres).
GINA stated too that the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) Public Relations unit has said that when harvested, the rice will be sold to the Guyana Rice Development Board. “GUYSUCO’s interest in rice is as a component of an integrated commercial aquaculture production and processing project.
Therefore seed paddy cultivation is a part of the diversification programme and is a preparatory measure to support the aquaculture project” the agency added.
Only yesterday the Ministry of Agriculture shared that the rice industry continues to hold strong despite challenges facing rice farmers across the country.
The Ministry indicated that end of crop figures provided by the GRDB showed that farmers harvested a total of 89,290 hectares or 23% over the first crop in 2016 resulting in a paddy production of 518,667 metric tonnes of paddy – 26 percent more than for the same period last year.