Press Statement on the current issues farmers are facing with GRDB 10
Ministry of Agriculture has investigated reports of poor germination of paddy experienced by some farmers.
Ministry notes the following:
- Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) produces approximately 25,000 bags of seed paddy annually at the Rice Research Station at Burma, Mahaicony, and another 5,000 bags using contract growers.
- Farmers purchase seeds from GRDB and also produce seeds.
- GRDB produces seeds for 12 varieties.
- GRDB received complaints of poor germination of the GRDB 10 rice seeds from some farmers across the country.
- The poor germination was specific to the GRDB 10, but not confined only to the GRDB 10 produced by GRDB. It also affected seeds produced by farmers.
- All other varieties showed good germination.
- It is known that variety GRDB 10 has slow germination.
- GRDB 10 was released in 2009, since then slow germination was noted by the researchers and farmers. Consequently, the Board has been working towards developing new rice varieties with excellent germination and seedling vigour in field. To this end the newer varieties (GRDB 14, GRDB 15, GRDB 16) have achieved this feat.
- GRDB 10 has always required that the conditions favouring germination (moisture, heat, oxygen) are optimum. Even when optimum conditions are met, the variety GRDB 10 sometimes show slow/poor germination. It is important to note that timely harvesting of seeds, proper drying and storage affect germination of seed in general.
- Optimum conditions for germination are: Temperature (28-34 0C), free flow of oxygen, moisture.
- Currently, it is advisable to soak the GRDB 10 seeds for 18-24 hours and press in small pieces (to allow good air circulation), for 36 to 54 hours.
- The GRDB officers are working closely with farmers providing technical advice to towards better germination.
- All farmers who purchased seeds from GRDB which showed poor germination will have their seed stock being replaced, after verification.
As the Ministry works towards accelerating production and improving productivity, the Ministry has noted that it is always advisable not to have one variety covering majority acreages in a country so as to protect against genetic vulnerabilities.
The GRDB 10 became the most popular variety because of its high yielding ability. The GRDB has always advised farmers to have a diverse varietal preference in the farms, thus its continued research work in developing newer higher yielding varieties. The new variety GRFDB 16 has the potential of actually becoming the preferred variety, especially since it addresses the issues found in earlier varieties and is of different genetic composition than the GRDB 10.