Farmers in Region Five are reaping the benefits of government initiatives aimed at boosting rice cultivation in the region. These initiatives, which include a comprehensive seed programme, are helping to improve crop yields and enhance the livelihoods of farmers.
The Mahaica, Mahaicony, Abary-Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA) Scheme, which is the largest rice growing area in the nation, cultivates over 100,000 acres of rice per crop, producing over three million bags of paddy.
This was disclosed by Quality Control Manager at the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Marsha Hohenkirk, at MMA’s open day event in Onverwagt, Region Five, on Saturday.
Hohenkirk highlighted that the GRDB continues to partner with MMA-ADA to improve rice production in the area while simultaneously improving the livelihoods of farmers.
“Recently, GRDB, in a joint initiative with the MMA established a seed programme, where seed growers in the region will receive support from the GRDB and MMA to produce seed which would subsequently be processed by the MMA seed cleaning facility,” the quality control manager stated.
This collaboration will complement current research and seed production efforts already in place for farmers through GRDB’s Rice Research Station, which is situated in the region.
During the El Nino period, the GRDB and the MMA-ADA are working together to effectively manage water to ensure its availability to all farmers.
Salinity testing is also being conducted by the GRDB in all riverain areas. The findings of these surveys are relayed to the farmers and MMA.
Meanwhile, GRDB’s extension and quality control services which provide support for farmers are ongoing in a number of areas.
Hohenkirk explained that, “These include farmers for your school, where training on best practices in rice cultivation and demonstration on red rice control… among others are being done.”
In the area of quality control, persons are trained to become licensed graders who eventually gain employment by the mills in the region.
For the first crop of 2024, approximately 95,000 acres of land were prepared which represents an increase of 5,000 acres over the second crop of 2023.
As government is actively working to provide relief to farmers, while developing agriculture in the region, farmers will benefit from the development of 20,000 acres of new lands for cultivation in the scheme.
Hohenkirk commended the commitment and support demonstrated by the Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, towards the expansion and sustainability of the agriculture sector.
Only a few days ago, the GRDB’s central laboratory was recertified to the national standard by the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS).