Rice production estimated to reach 1M metric tonnes by 2025 – President Ali

With rice accounting for approximately 60 per cent of Guyana’s agriculture export, its production is estimated to significantly grow by 79 per cent to one million metric tonnes by 2025.

Rice yield has seen an increase from 5.9 metric tonnes per hectare in 2019 to 6.2 metric tonnes per hectare in 2023.

This was disclosed by President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali Wednesday morning, while addressing a media conference at his Shiv Chanderpaul Drive office.

President Ali during the press conference at his office on Wednesday

We are working now on expanding our rice production, we had record production of rice grains from 559,789 metric tonnes in 2021 to 625,092 metric tonnes so far, a 12 per cent increase…Rice exports from 2020 to 2023 are estimated at 1.7 million metric tonnes valued at US $743 million,” President Ali stated.

He noted that the government is working on expanding its menu of products and produce from the traditional sector to the non-traditional sector.

Agricultural diversification, Dr Ali asserted is a key area for investment and therefore, the government is making efforts to move the production chain to a higher value with several targeted markets.

And to maximise the chances of success, the administration is supporting the expansion of Guyana’s storage capacity, including storage for grains, and packaging and distribution centres.

“We are working with the private sector so that we can create a state-of-the-art regional food hub here in Guyana. We’re also working on innovative ways of ensuring that young people and women are included in the agricultural diversification and agricultural plan, creating food production entrepreneurs.”

The government’s shade house initiative is one such programme which is benefitting more than 100 young people.

President Ali said his government is bridging the production gap by ramping up production in crops like sugar, expanding the swine, beef, poultry, black belly sheep and fisheries industries, as well as intensifying the cage culture farming and shrimp project.

He stressed that the diversification undertaking will also focus on the cultivation of coconut, citrus, spices, and new crops including cocoa, coffee, hemp, millet, wheat and barley, some of which are at the experimental stage.

“We are positioning the agriculture sector as an expanded diversified, modern, resilient and competitive sector with a 150 per cent increase in budgetary allocation, moving from $13.3 billion in 2019 to $33.2 billion in 2023,” Dr Ali noted.

More emphasis is also being placed on hinterland development to boost food security there, making communities more self-sufficient.

The Ministry of Agriculture has also provided planting materials, improved breeds of livestock, processing facilities, and access to technical and advisory services to hundreds of farmers, and in some instances, assisted them with product development and marketing.

“We are working on bridging the financing gap for low-cost loan programmes that will help rice, poultry and other farmers. Focused programmes to support cattle formulation for farmers, incentives, tax benefits to facilitate acquisition of land and equipment to modernise farms, and open up opportunity for higher production and higher yield,” President Ali underscored.