Latest update March 25th, 2023 12:57 AM
Nov 10, 2008 News
…..Memorandum of Understanding signed
Karl Samuda, Minister of Investment, Industry and Commerce of Jamaica, has recently said that his country will increase importation of rice from Guyana next year. He said that Jamaica wants the relationship between the two countries to be further strengthened, and as such, a Memorandum of Understanding was recently inked to ensure that commitment comes to fruition.
According to the document, inked for the period of one year commencing from January 1, 2009, Guyana will make available to Jamaica 60,000 tonnes of rice at market prices, at an average of 5000 metric tonnes per month over a twelve-month period.
Prices negotiated between exporters and importers at the commencement of the crop, or contract period, will be applicable to that crop or contract period.
As of January 1, 2009, Guyana will not impose an export commission on rice exported to CARICOM member states.
When Guyana is unable to supply, it will immediately notify Jamaica, and will not object to a request by Jamaica for a suspension of the CET on an amount to be agreed to by both parties.
Exports and imports will be monitored by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) on behalf of Guyana, and the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC) on behalf of Jamaica.
The MOU will not supersede the existing arrangements between Guyana and Jamaica in respect of the trade in rice.
Subject to contractual dispute settlement provisions, where a dispute arises among importers and exporters concerning the interpretation and/or application of the Memorandum of Understanding, the GRDB and the MIIC will collaborate to mediate the said dispute.
Where a dispute arises between Guyana and Jamaica arising out of the interpretation and/or application of this Memorandum of Understanding, the countries will first seek to settle the dispute through consultations between the GRDB and the MIIC. Either country may thereafter have recourse to any of the other dispute settlement procedures set out in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.
Minister Samuda recently told participants at an international rice conference held in Guyana that last year Jamaica purchased approximately 50,000 tonnes of rice, but in 2009, his country would increase its rice imports to 60,000 tonnes.
The minister commended Guyana for celebrating its 100th year of exporting rice, and added that it has provided a foundation for the next generation.
The minister, in citing “severe challenges to provide food,” encouraged Caribbean nations to expand their capacity to grow more food.
Minister Samuda remarked that arable land for agriculture is shrinking and there is need to replenish those areas. In countries such as China, he said, there is a shortage of water, which is due to the increase in technology, such as high speed water pumps.
He commended Guyana for its interest in the agricultural sector. In CARICOM, he said, there were only few countries that offered opportunities for food production, namely Guyana, Belize and Jamaica, and to some extent Suriname. This was by and large as a result of them having arable lands for agriculture.
Minister Samuda said, “We in Jamaica realize the importance of putting more lands into agriculture.” He added that Jamaica endorsed the offer by President Jagdeo for investors from the Caribbean to invest in Guyana, so that Caribbean nations could expand food production, not only to serve the immediate Caribbean Community but elsewhere.
The Jamaican Minister urged the Caribbean region to put greater investment into agriculture. This, he said, would offer the Caribbean people “a better quality of life”.
Agriculture, he noted, has great potential in the region. He urged Caribbean nations to seize the opportunity, since “no one is coming to our rescue.” He added that these nations should come together and help themselves.
Minister Samuda remarked that Jamaica is a net importer of food, and only last year the import bill exceeded the export bill by some $375M. The high price of oil has resulted in a large trade deficit to CARICOM countries. That, he said, made them vulnerable, and the inflation rate has increased to 17%.
He said that the decrease in demand on the world market would not benefit Caribbean nations, and he added that the banana industry was now a “thing of the past.”
In Jamaica, they are re-focusing on the domestic market rather than on the international market, the minister said. He noted that Jamaica has failed to become competitive on the international sugar market.
The only solution to all these problems in the region, according to the Jamaican Minister, is co-operation, which he said, “will lay a solid foundation for the community”.
By 2010, the minister said, a foundation would be laid for meaningful expansion for Guyana’s exports, which should have been there in the first place.
He urged Guyana to get more involved in packaging, so as to capture attention on the world market. This, he said, would be “marketing in a dynamic and modern manner.” In this way, he added, Guyana could take on “big players” like the United States.
Minister Samuda urged Guyana not to forget its traditional markets, of which Jamaica is a part, and said that Guyana must not “give up the certain for the uncertain.”
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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