…in excess of 32,000 tonnes available for export
Local exporters can enter into contracts to ship in excess of 32,000 tonnes of rice as the Guyana rice industry braces itself for its highest production this year.
Kaieteur News was told yesterday that, based on the crop prediction, Guyana has the capacity to ship large quantities of rice this year.
When this newspaper contacted Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud on the issue with Jamaica not concluding its rice purchase arrangements with local exporters, he said that the matter is being dealt with by the Foreign Trade Ministry.
On Sunday, the minister said that he was very disturbed about the fact that Jamaican buyers have not been taking up the quantities of rice available from Guyana.
He pointed out that several exporters have reported that they have thousands of metric tonnes ready to ship, but their Jamaican buyers are not concluding the purchase arrangements with urgency.
He said that a commitment was given that a minimum of about 55,000 tonnes of rice will be purchased from Guyana annually.
Earlier this year, Jamaica was seeking a waiver of the Common External Tariff (CET), to import rice from outside the region.
That country has claimed that Guyana may not be able to supply the Jamaican market.
However, Guyana maintained its position that it can indeed reach its rice quota for Jamaica.
This crop, the average price for rice on the international market is in the vicinity of US$800 per metric tonne.
Asked about the Caricom rice market, the minister maintained that Guyana is committed to supplying this market, and the Government has always insisted that supplies be made available for CARICOM once economical prices are offered.
Last year, Guyana exported over 51,000 tonnes to Jamaica.
Up to the end of August last, Jamaica had only purchased 23,500 tonnes, which is below Guyana’s projected exports to Jamaica.
Meanwhile, several measures have been implemented to protect the farmers within the industry with the amendment of the Rice Factories Act.
This Act seeks to ensure that farmers are paid promptly for paddy supplied to millers.
The new regulation also seeks to address the issue of grading, and to ensure farmers get a fair deal.
The Guyana Rice Development Board has been mandated to boost its staff presence at mills, to ensure farmers are treated fairly.
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