GRDB commissions $10M drying floor at Riverstown

The Ministry of Agriculture, through the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), on Friday commissioned a GY $10,071,000 drying floor at Riverstown, Essequibo Coast.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, who officiated the commissioning by spreading paddy on to the asphalt structure, urged farmers from the area to make full use of the facility. 

He said the facility was constructed following requests made by farmers during a visit to the Region earlier in the year.

According to Minister Mustapha, once farmers make requests for those facilities to be constructed, the government through the Ministry of Agriculture will work to facilitate those requests.

He also said over the next four years, the government will be opening more lands for agricultural development and making more facilities like the drying floor available to farmers.

“As a government, we recognize that the rice industry has and will continue to earn a lot of revenue for the country. Therefore, we have been making the necessary investments in the sector. If we are to achieve our target of doubling paddy production within the next four years, we have to open up more lands and make the necessary facilities available to you, the farmers. When we took government a little over a year ago, a number of agriculture inputs were taxable. We’ve since removed those taxes and farmers have more money in their pockets,” Minister Mustapha said.

Minister Mustapha also said that GRDB has been working to develop new varieties of paddy with higher yields per acre.

“Our scientists have been working to create new varieties to increase your yields per acre. Only last year we launched the GRDB16. That variety, with good farming practices, has the potential to increase the national average from an average of 40 to 45 bags per acre to about 55 to 60 bags per acre. We are also working to develop another type of rice through the GRDB and IICA. It is a biofortified rice variety enriched with Zinc. It is healthier and could also attract preferential prices on the international markets. We are working to have that developed into a candidate variety and I’m optimistic that by May of next year, farmers can have that as a candidate variety for their fields. We are exporting rice to about 30 countries around the world so just imagine how many new markets we will benefit from if we have a variety that is enriched with Zinc.”

Minister Mustapha also told farmers that the government is working through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs to retrieve monies owed to Guyanese millers for rice supplied to Panama under the previous administration. He reminded farmers that the former government referred to rice as private business and that it wasn’t until the PPP government took office last August, that Panamanian officials were engaged on the matter.

Farmers who were present at the commissioning expressed thanks to the Ministry for acting on the request made by the farmers to construct the drying floor.

The drying floor was constructed by A. Bacchus Contracting and Trucking Services.


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