GIEWS Country Brief: Guyana 01-June-2020

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  • Rice production forecast well above‑average level in 2020

  • Rice exports forecast to continue rising trend in 2020 marketing year

Rice production forecast well above‑average level in 2020

Harvesting of the 2020 first season paddy crop, which accounts for half of the annual production, is virtually complete and yields of the harvested crops are similar to the record high yields obtained in 2019. The improvement of extension services of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) and the expanding of public agricultural investments supported crop yields.

Planting of the 2020 second season paddy crop is ongoing under slightly dry weather conditions. Sowings are expected to increase compared to the record level in 2019 due to improved financial gains for farmers, prompted by strong demand for exports. Precipitation amounts are forecast to increase in the June‑August period across the main producing coastal areas, which are likely to support crop germination and development.

The 2020 paddy production is forecast to increase for the fourth consecutive year and reach 1.1 million tonnes, about 15 percent higher than the five‑year average.

Rice exports forecast to continue rising trend in 2020 marketing year

Rice is the country’s third most important export commodity, after gold and cargo containers, with about half of the annual production being exported. Rice exports have been on the rise over the past three years due to increasing production and are forecast to continue rising in the 2020 marketing year (January/December). Rice exports in 2020 are forecast at 530 000 tonnes, more than 20 percent above the last five‑year average.

COVID‑19 and measures adopted by the Government

The COVID‑19 emergency measures were adopted on 3 April 2020 for a two‑month period, which included the curfew from 18:00 to 06:00 hours and the temporary closure of the borders and non‑essential business activities. The Government is also distributing food packages to support the vulnerable population affected by the COVID‑19 pandemic and has recently announced cash transfer measures for small farmers.