– as GRDB launches new paddy variety The introduction of a new variety of paddy will not only see increase in rice production in less time, but also guarantee low risk of crop losses, given its high resistance to rice blast diseases.The new rice variety – GRDB 15 – dubbed “Guyana Pride”, was launched on Thursday by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB). It is an early duration, semi-dwarf paddy. GRDB 15 will produce some seven to 8.5 tonnes per hectare, that is, 45 to 55 bags per acre; contains 150 to 250 grains per panicle, and has a maturing period of 105 to 110 days, and 73 days to flower after sowing. The average weight of this new grain is 26.6 grams, while its average length is 9.7 millimetres.With cultivation of this new rice variety to commence this year, the optimum sowing periods are May 15 to June 30 and November 15 to December 15. It is critical that sowing be done during these periods, so that maximum sunlight us available during flowering and grain filling.According to GRDB’s Chief Scientist and Plant Breeder Dr Mahendra Persaud, this new paddy variety is unexpectedly a significantly improvement of Guyana’s current top grain – GRDB 10.In a detailed presentation on the vision and developmental process behind GRDB 15, Dr Persaud noted that the high yielding capability of the new paddy variety will prove to be beneficial not only to farmers by increasing their outputs, but the country as well, by broadening its products to tap into the many opportunities available on the international market.“We have to think ahead in terms of what we gonna deliver. The work that we start in breeding today, you will see it bearing fruits in the next five sThe packaged new paddy variety, GRDB 15, which was launched on Thursday at the Pegasus Hotelix years, so our vision was (to) provide varieties beyond seven tonnes per hectare… We have noticed, if you look at it, around 6.7 bags per acre, close to seven bags per acre yield advantage over the 31 trials that we harvested so far. This is chalking out to be like 17% yield advantage over the current dominant variety – GRDB 10,” the Rice Board’s Plant Breeder stated.Meanwhile, President of the Rice Producers Association, Leekha Rambrich, posited that as both a farmer and miller, he is excited about the new variety.“This would be a great plus… I’m sure that farmers with even five or six bags more per acre would earn much more for their pockets when it comes to returns on their investments; and I’m sure that with the 4000 bags of seed that we have within the system, (it) would be enough to give to the farmers,” Rambrich posited.On this note, GRDB General Manager Nizam Hassan urged farmers to secure their new paddy variety seeds from the research station as soon as possible, so that cultivation can commence early. He indicated that the new variety will be sold at the same price as existing seeds on the market.Meanwhile, in his feature address before formally releasing the new paddy variety to the public, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder expressed Government’s continuous efforts towards the development of more new varieties and technology to further enhance the country’s rice industry.“I pledge my Ministry’s and Government’s support for a partnership with Guyana’s rice farmers in ensuring the continued growth of the local industry, not only in the yields per acre, but in the amount of lands cultivated… We will also continue to use green technology and renewable energy in production of our rice variety,” the Agriculture Minister asserted.