The National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) recently recruited senior Japanese Consultant Dr Ishikawa to work on projects related to the production of rice and flour based value-added products.
Director of NARI Dr Oudho Homenauth in an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA) on Tuesday said “NARI seeks to offer appropriate technology in the development of the value added rice products which can assist in the reconfiguration of the rice industry in harmony and support of the present market and trade patterns.” These products include instant rice, rice flour, rice noodles and rice pasta.
According to GINA though the rice industry has been one of the pillars in the agriculture sector it has been hampered by trade and marketing constraints. In the wake of this it had been forced to come up with alternatives such as its agro-processing arm and the value-added commodities. The spoilage rates of perishable commodities in the tropics are significant. In Guyana, high losses occur and significant amounts of produce including eddoes, sweet potatoes, plantain and cassava have deteriorated at market outlets.
Dr Homenauth said the production of flour from the commodities will add value which will result in more financial gains for producers. It will also provide suitable raw materials for further value addition in the production of products such as baby and health foods and items such as snacks, crackers and bread. He also said NARI embarked on these projects “because it recognizes the need to go beyond fresh markets in order to enhance food nutrition, security and safety at a national level.” To ensure this the director said products have to be properly packaged before they can be marketed and sold. Dr Homenauth said too the project was designed to fill needs in the event of scarcity due to low production or natural disasters.
GINA also said negotiations are ongoing between NARI and a major food distributor to market both rice-based and composite flour products.