Trinidad benefits from cheaper Guyana rice

December 9, 2008 | By | Filed Under News 

…lowers prices by 15 per cent

(Reprinted from Trinidad Guardian) Guyana has had a bumper 2008 rice crop. That’s good news for heavy rice-eating Trinidadians as that country imports the staple from its Guyanese neighbour.
Liquat Ali, chief executive officer of Trinidad Parboil Ltd (TPL), dropped the price of parboiled rice by 15 per cent effective November 20.
TPL, which has a large rice milling operation in Guyana, imports it into Trinidad.
Ali said his company had decided to reduce its wholesale price of parboiled (brown) rice.
The price of white rice is unchanged.
Lower world market prices for oil led to lower fuel prices, so TPL negotiated lower freight costs. Ali said he expects the new prices to last until February 2009.
Importer Ali is not alone in reducing the price of rice.
Charles James, managing director of JMH Enterprises Ltd, the country’s biggest rice importer, has reduced the price of the Par Excellence brand of Guyana parboiled rice which he distributes.
“On the market, there is a glut of Guyanese rice. The Europeans are not buying as they used to, causing this glut.”
James wrote to Consumer Affairs Minister Peter Taylor on November 27, stating that his company took a decision to reduce the price of the December shipment of rice by 6.5 per cent.
“Where practicable, Mr Minister, I would like you to use your good office in ensuring an even greater reduction by negotiating with the shippers as well as the local port,” the letter read.
James informed Taylor that because of the glut, “the importers of Guyana rice now have no option but to reduce their price as their rice is starting to spoil on their hands.”
James said that while he’s a wholesaler, he receives complaints from consumers that they are not benefitting from price reductions.
“They even speak about NFM (National Flour Mills) reducing flour prices, but the price remains the same.”
“I would like to work together with you in finding a way for the benefits to reach the supermarket shelves so that the end users may also benefit for, as you know, supermarkets are a law unto themselves,” James wrote.
NFM reduced the price of its flour by 15 per cent as of November 25.
The management of National Flour Mills Ltd indicated earlier this year that any savings from falling wheat prices would be passed on to customers.
“Our stock of the higher-priced wheat is almost totally depleted, thus, we are now in a favourable position to provide more affordable flour to the national community,” stated acting chief executive officer Gillian Pollidore.
Commodity prices globally started to go down within the last three months, said Wayne Bridgemohansingh, marketing consultant at Gopaul and Company Ltd.
The company imports rice, oil, flour and sugar.
Bridgemohansingh said the price of cooking oil had been reduced by 30 per cent, while rice from Guyana had gone down by 15 per cent.
“No matter where the prices have come down—whether out of Brazil or Guyana—customers have already started to benefit.”
Naishan Khan, director at Naisa Brand Products Ltd, said his food importing company had lowered the price of vegetable oil and brown rice.
A 100-pound bag of brown rice was $450 in September, but is now $350. Naisa buys rice from Guyana and Brazil. NFM buys rice from Brazil as well.
On the local front, declining agricultural production hasn’t helped the situation any.
Floods in key agricultural areas have contributed to this decline, and have put additional pressure on supplies and, consequently, prices.

(Sandra Chouthi)

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