GEORGETOWN, GUYANA — Rice production in Guyana continues to increase due to innovation, technology transfer, agricultural extension, and greater export demand, according to an Aug. 22 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The country’s paddy rice production and acreage are forecast up slightly in 2018-19 to 1 million tonnes and 180,000 hectares, respectively, the report said.

Rice output in 2017-18 was higher than expected, up 18% compared to 2016-17, the USDA noted.

“In addition to technological innovations, grower ambitions and incentives from new export markets like Mexico and Cuba are sufficient factors to motivate greater gains in productivity,” the USDA said.

While Venezuela, a traditional buyer of Guyanese rice, is no longer a destination under the Petrocaribe agreement, Guyana has expanded rice trade into the E.U. and some traditional U.S. markets such as Panama, Haiti, and Nicaragua, the report said.

“Beginning in 2017, Guyana began supplying paddy rice to Mexico for the first time under the duty-free TRQ that the Mexican government established, shipping 114,000 tonnes,” the USDA said. “In the first five months of 2018, Guyana shipped 60,000 tonnes to Mexico. Furthermore, Guyana has begun shipping rice to Cuba. In 2017, Guyana exported 15,000 tonnes to Cuba, whereas in the first five months of 2018, it has exported nearly 45,000 tonnes.”