History of Rice Extension

It has been established that Rice extension began under the Ministry of Agriculture (Davidson, 1997) Before any attempt can be made to examine how rice extension evolved under this Ministry one has to looked at how the extension services in general began.

According to (Webber 1931) the extension service in Guyana started with the founding of the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society of British Guyana in March 1844, with sir Michael Turk as the First President.  The society was basically a co-operative effort by planters.

In 1905, the department of Science and Agriculture was established with Agricultural Officers being posted in the different farming districts.  It should be noted that the Ministry of Agriculture was involved in a limited numbers of research projects and varietal selection at its base in the Botanical Gardens.

As of 1952, the extension division of the Department of Agriculture performed all extension service.  The field staff comprised of Agricultural Officers and field assistants and they were principally concerned with the execution of development programmes.

While the extension service in the rice was handled directly by the Ministry of Agriculture, other areas of rice production were managed by entities separated but related to the Ministry of Agriculture.  These were the British Guiana Rice Marketing Board (BGRMB), and the Rice Development Company (RDC). The main responsibility of the British Guiana Rice Marketing Board was to control the manufacture, purchase, sale, distribution and export of all rice manufactured in Guyana.  This organization was later called the Guiana Rice Marketing Board in 1967.  The Rice Development Company was established in 1952 as the British Guiana Rice Development Company and the name was changed in 1966 to the Rice Development Company.  Its responsibility was to operate the company’s farm and rice factory at Mahaica/Abary.  The Rice Development Company was replaced by the Guyana Rice Corporation (GRC) later replaced the Rice Development Company (RDC) in 1969. This organization was more vibrant and focused on rice research, production, and extension, which it took over from the Ministry of Agriculture.

This was done with a view to consolidate research and extension in one organization thus making it more efficient.  New staff were recruited and placed in all the Regions and were now working directly under the authority of GRC.  They were responsible for data collection, monitoring trials, and carry out crop survey.

In 1973, due to poor coordination between the Guyana Rice Marketing Board (GRMB) and the Guyana Rice Company they were combined to form the Guyana Rice Board (GRB).  The function of the extension services continued under the Guyana Rice Board (GRB) since the management never changed.

In 1985 the Guyana Rice Board was dissolved and three new entities were formed.  These included the Guyana Rice Milling Marketing Authority (GRMMA), National Padi and Rice Grading Center (NP&RGC) and the Guyana Rice Export Board (GREB).

Guyana Rice Milling Marketing Authority (GRMMA) was responsible for managing the operation of Government owned mills while National Padi & Rice Grading Centre (NP&RGC) concentrated on grading and quality control service, GREB, was responsible for the marketing of rice for export.

Around this time, it was decided that extension should be reverted to the Ministry of Agriculture.  This never materialised and rice extension remained, this time under the authority Guyana Rice Milling Marketing Authority (GRMMA).

In 1995, the three entities were re-combined to form the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), and the extension service automatically came under the authority of this organization.