The Agriculture Ministry and the Guyana Rice Development Board, (GRDB) today in the boardroom of Agriculture Ministry, Regent and Vlissengen Road, launched two new varieties of rice for commercial cultivation in Guyana; the GRDB11 (FG06-98) and the GRDB12 (FG07-35).
The two new varieties were developed by researchers at the Rice Research Station at Burma whose prime objective, is to research and develop high yielding rice varieties that address the changing local cultivation conditions. Over a five-year period, they have been successfully tested in over 30 rice fields of varying acreages at various locations across the country.
The two new varieties have shown that they are high yielding as well as possess other traits particularly important for good crop establishment and weed competitiveness, such as the ability to emerge well from about 4-6 inches of standing water.
Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud examining samples of the crop grown with the new rice varieties
Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud said that he was pleased that the new varieties address yield because on average in Guyana the present varieties of rice, yield between 4 - 4.5 bags per acre. The two new varieties will boost yield up closer to 7.
Commending the staff of the GRDB Rice Research Station for launching the new varieties within such a short period, Persaud said, that Government has invested a lot in the institution, close to a $100M per annum and that it will keep on doing so if it continues to give such successful results.
Minister Persaud expressed hope that farmers will embrace the two new varieties and that they recognize its beneficial qualities.
“We cannot continue to grow one type of rice and hope the other markets will buy,” he said, adding that the country needs to penetrate other markets and to do so, requires different farmers at different areas in Guyana, growing rice for different segments of the world markets
With factors such as technology and competitiveness and changing environment, changing market preference greatly affect rice cultivation and sale, Plant Breeder/Chief Scientist, GRDB, Rice Research Station, Dr. Mahendra Persaud said, research and development is one way forward in sustaining the industry.
“Those varieties that were very good, ten years back don’t seem to have a permanent place in this economic scenario and more so in the future,” he said. “Constant research and development must be facilitated to grow more suitable grains.”
The research station having worked vigorously in developing the two new varieties is pleased with its high yielding trait and is encouraged by the response of the farmers in whose fields the varieties were tested, Dr. Persaud said.