CARIBBEAN NEWS: Guyana sees major increase in rice production for the first crop of 2017

Guyana has produced just over half million tonnes of paddy in the first crop for this year with exports of the commodity totalling more than US$92 million, according to figures released by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) on Wednesday.

The GRDB said that 518,667 metric tonnes of paddy was produced during the first crop, a 26 per cent increase over the same period last year.

“So you see the first crop figures have been better despite all that have occurred in the industry. Farmers are resilient. Additionally, from paddy supplied to millers across the rice-growing regions, a total of 337, 133 metric tonnes of rice was produced. This is a 26 per cent increase over last year’s first crop figures,” GRDB acting general manager, Allison Peters. However, while there have been increases in production, the rice board has been grappling with a decrease in exports of rice and paddy for the first four months of the year, due to the fact that exports to the Panama market for the first crop not materialising.

For the first crop 2017, exports amounted to 239,442 metric tonnes, some 60,000 tonnes less that for the same period last year. Foreign exchange earnings from the export of rice and paddy amounted to US$92.02 million.

Peters noted that while the exports were significantly less than for the corresponding period last year the comparative value of the exports were not much different.

“We did notice that the prices in 2017 first quarter were higher than those we got in 2017; specifically for the packaged rice; a lot of packaged rice were exported for the first quarter, a large portion of this was exported to Venezuela,” Peters said, adding “only last month we had over 4000 tonnes of white rice exported to Venezuela by private exporters”.

The GRDB said that once the international prices continue to hold or increase, Guyana’s earnings from the exports of rice and paddy for the second crop can very well make up for the shortfall realised in the first crop.

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