A meeting is to be held with local rice exporters to discuss the way forward with regards to the overseas market for rice. Particular emphasis will be placed on the Jamaican market.
Also to be examined at the meeting, which will be held on Tuesday with Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud, is the current state of the export market for rice.
Further, the meeting will scrutinize issues surrounding the pricing of paddy for farmers, as well as timely payment.
The meeting is being held in the wake of concerns raised by local exporters that they have thousands of metric tonnes ready to ship but their Jamaican buyers are not concluding the purchase arrangements with urgency.
Local exporters stand ready to enter into contracts to ship in excess of 32,000 tonnes of rice as Guyana’s rice industry braces itself for its highest production this year.
The meeting is being hosted even as Jamaican Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda, stated that his country will not be able to purchase its full 60,000 tonnes quota of rice from Guyana this year.
During an interview with Kaieteur News, Samuda said that the decision is not because of any unwillingness to purchase rice from Guyana, but because Jamaica has already met its local need for the commodity.
At present, Jamaica has purchased only just over half of the amount it had committed to purchasing from Guyana annually.
Samuda said that this decision was as a result of two Common External Tariff (CET) waivers Jamaica had gotten, and as such imported rice from the United States of America.
The importation of rice from the United States, he said, was done because of Guyana’s difficulties in supplying Jamaica during the first three months of the year.
Trade Minister Dr Henry Jeffery has since disputed the interview Kaieteur News conducted with Minister Samuda, stating that this newspaper misrepresented the Jamaican minister.
However, a copy of the article has since been dispatched to Minister Samuda, and he has not disputed any aspect of it.
Early in the year, Jamaica had applied for suspension of the Common External Tariff (CET) on rice for a six-month period.
However, Guyana objected to the request on the basis of its ability and readiness to supply the quantities required by Jamaica.
Last year, Jamaica bought over 51,000 tonnes of rice from Guyana.
This crop, the average price for rice on the international market is in the vicinity of US$800 per metric tonne.
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