Guyana’s Economy Boosted by Using Herbicides in Rice Fields

Guyana stands alone in the world in terms of the proportion of rice that they export – 65%! Rice is the highest agricultural foreign exchange earner for Guyana. In order to maximize rice yields, rice growers in Guyana rely on herbicides to control weeds.

“Guyana’s rice industry for 2008 has exported US$118M, which represents the highest earnings ever for the sector. … Rice continues to make significant strides as a socioeconomic crop in Guyana. From a very small and quite subsistence beginning, it has grown today to one of the pillars of Guyana’s economy.”

“Weed control continued to play a major role in maximizing rice yields during 2008. … Despite the use of preventative measures and cultural practices that normally reduce weed infestation, surviving populations of the major rice weeds were significant enough to warrant the use of chemical control measures in order to maximize grain yield.”

Authors: Jagnanne Singh and Dindyal Permaul
Affiliation: Guyana Rice Development Board
Title: Guyana Rice Development Board Annual Report 2008.
Available at: http://grdb.gy/templates/GRDB/images/GRDB%20Annual%20Report%202008.pdf

Organic Cotton Discontinued in Uganda – Due to Damage to the National Economy!

Cotton is considered one of the most strategic commodities in Uganda for increasing household income, creation of employment, industrialization and poverty alleviation. In 1995 the Swedish International Development Agency began promoting organic methods of growing cotton in Uganda. The area under organic management expanded rapidly. Farmers were attracted to organic cotton because the promoters promised a premium price. Then, the reality of trying to grow cotton without chemical pesticides sunk in, shown below in remarks from a presentation by Jolly Sabune, Managing Director of the Cotton Development Organization.

  • During 2007/8, the en-mass introduction of organic caused over 68% drop in yields in the organic areas.
  • National cotton production also dropped by 50% from 134,000 bales in 2006/7 to 66,500 bales in 2007/8.
  • Organic promoters were sabotaging government efforts of increasing cotton yields by de-campaigning use of the effective conventional pesticides.
  • Following the sharp decline in production due to en-mass introduction of organic cotton, the government of Uganda decided that organic cotton promoted in the manner seen during 2007/8 was entrenching poverty rather than alleviating it and would therefore not be accepted.
  • Anyone who wants to support small-scale farmers in cotton must therefore promote conventional cotton production.

Author: Jolly Sabune
Affiliation: Cotton Development Organization
Title: Organic Cotton Production: Uganda’s Experience. Available at:¬†http://www.icac.org/meetings/plenary/70_buenos_aires/documents/os3/os3_sabune.pdf