New rice variety introduced for first crop of 2021

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha, today, officially launched the GRDB 16 rice variety for cultivation, at a ceremony held at the Burma Research Station, Mahaicony, Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five).

Agriculture stakeholders and rice farmers attended the ceremony for the official release of the variety, which is expected to be high-yielding.

Minister Mustapha said based on the performance of the candidate variety in all evaluations conducted over the years and the response by the farmers, the strain FG12 259 is released for cultivation in Guyana as GRDB FL 16 from spring first crop of 2021.

To ensure maximum productivity and profitability, a best practice will be distributed to all farmers. The Burma station will make available 4,700 bags of seeds to farmers for sowing.

Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha delivers his remarks at the launch of the GRDB 16 variety

“We are expecting the national productivity to keep rising. With rice production and productivity constantly increasing, our farmers will receive a better profit margin,” Minister Mustapha said.

The Minister said the PPP/C Administration will continue to support rice farmers as the rice industry is important to Guyana. Noting that it is the second largest contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP) after gold, and benefits more than 40,000 people, the Minister assured farmers that investments in the sector will continue.

“There will be a continuous flow of new varieties and technologies, in the next five years. We will be bringing in more than 1,000 new breeding lines, and germ plasma for testing and developing appropriate varieties for our farmers,” Minister Mustapha said.

There are high expectations for the new variety. The Minister explained that some years ago over 50 bags per acre seemed farfetched, but that is now a reality.

“The Government will continue to make the necessary investments in research and development, infrastructure and design the relevant policies to ensure the rice industry keeps growing and remain competitive and sustainable both locally and internationally,” he said.

Minister Mustapha commended GRDB’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Mahendra Persaud and his team for their work, adding that he is pleased with the station’s performance. Meanwhile, Dr. Persaud said the station’s job is to give farmers options so that they can increase productivity. The last success was with the GRDB 10. However, the new variety, GRDB 16, produces much better yields – between 30 to 60 bags per acre. This variety can see farmers producing up to 9.5 tons of paddy per hectare.

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