Statistics released by the Ministry of Agriculture earlier this week indicate that total rice production for 2009 could reach 369,000 metric tonnes this year if the second crop reaches its projected target of 208,000 metric tonnes. Additionally, should the industry reach its projected target it will significantly surpass the 2008 yield of 329,574 metric tonnes and the 2007 yield of 298,125 metric tonnes. This year more than 130,000 hectares of land were placed under rice cultivation as compared with 121,653 last year and 106.565 in 2007.
Rice exports for 2009 have been projected at 254,277 metric tonnes compared with 196,233 metric tonnes in 1998 and 269,434 metric tonnes exported in 2007.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture’s commodity market update indicates that sugar for the end of August reached 119,766 tonnes compared 139,729 tonnes for the corresponding period last year. According to the report, weekly production surpassed 10,000 tonnes at least four times in the second crop up to this time while the very dry weather conditions that have been experienced since May this year have impacted positively on harvesting.
For much of this year the sugar industry has been plagued by poor weather which has affected the burning of cane and cane supply. This newspaper also understands that some estates, including LBI, have been particularly hard hit by poor worker turnout while there are reported serious concerns over management inefficiencies in the sector.
According to the report “GuySuCo’s strategy for the future is to increase sugar production and value-added output through measures such as expansion of cultivation at Blairmont Estate and upgrade of its factory.” The industry is also pursuing the construction of a 40,000-tonne capacity sugar packaging plant at Enmore with the potential to expand to 60,000 tonnes. The industry is also seeking the expansion of the Enmore factory, the expansion of cane supply from the Skeldon estate, increased supply of co-generated power to the national grid and land rehabilitation across the industry. The industry expects to increase co-generated power by the end of 2009.
Meanwhile, the commodity market update reports that with the exception of plywood, which declined by twp per cent, most of the country’s forest products continue to attract higher prices on the international market. So far this year forest products have earned US$28.35 million in export sales though this figure represents a decline of 15.02 per cent in export earnings compared with the same period last year. This decline represents a decrease in the volume of timber exports by Guyana this year. Latin America and the Caribbean continues to be the largest market for local timber and timber products while the Asia/Pacific region also imports large volumes of timber and timber products from Guyana.
Guyana Rice Production 2007-2009 by crop
* exchange rate used: 200 GYD = 1 USD
** rough own calculations, based on indicative information provided by GRDB