THE village of Quarrie, in the Central Rupununi, reaped its first rice crop several days ago, a staple which supplements the cassava-rich community.
According to reports from the village, one acre of rice from the Guyana Rice Development Board’s demonstration plot was harvested last Friday.
The GRDB10, GRDB15 and 30-3 types of rice were cultivated and harvested in the area.
The GRDB is currently piloting rice demonstration projects in the Rupununi and Quarrie was one of the villages earmarked for the project; the others being Moco Moco and Shulinab.
Last September, Quarrie’s Senior Counsel, Phillip Barreto, expressed appreciation for the project coming to his small village. “We have an acre plus of rice cultivation there now. At the first try, we see this could be done, so it is like an experience for us, and I want to believe this will help in our staple food, it will help the cassava because normally, we only use the cassava as a staple diet and we see now the rice will come in and we are hoping next year we will have a bigger production, and I am seeing that happening,” the SC posited at the time.
GRDB’s Rice and Beans Coordinator stationed in St Ignatius, Wilfred McInroy, told the Guyana Chronicle that it was the Toshaos from the villages who requested assistance with the cultivation of a supplement staple.
“It is a demonstration where we enlighten people about planting rice. We are not the one that will benefit, they will benefit; we are doing it to help them,” he said.
McInroy related that the GRDB is currently testing the soil in other villages to ascertain whether it is rice cultivation-friendly as there are plans to expand the demonstration project in other villages in the Rupununi.
Prior to this project, rice was only cultivated in the villages of Moco Moco and Santa Fe in the Rupununi.
The agricultural officials affirmed that rice consumption has increased in the Rupununi; thus there is an increase in rice being imported into the region from the coastland and even from Brazil.
With Rupununi upping its rice production, this is expected to have a domino effect on the development of the agricultural sector in the region. In addition to rice, the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) has commenced a breadfruit project in the region as another supplement staple for villagers.