Mar 29, 2014 News
Rice millers operating on the Essequibo Coast are anxiously awaiting word on how soon they would be able to ship rice to Venezuela.
Senior officials of the Agricultural Ministry and the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) are preparing to travel to the Spanish-speaking country as early as tomorrow to finalise arrangements for future shipments of rice.
Negotiations for cheaper fertilizer would also be part of those discussions.
Earlier this year Guyana and Venezuela signed a Memorandum of Understanding but to date the contract between the two countries has not yet been signed.
Guyana is expected to export 38 percent of its production. Last year it exported 58 percent to Venezuela. Venezuela is deemed as a high price market, which continues to take some 200,000 tons of Guyana’s rice.
Senior officials, who met with millers operating on the Essequibo Coast, have said that once all of the basic transactions are successful, millers would be given the approval to ship rice to Venezuela.
The meeting between millers and members of the Guyana Rice Development Board on Thursday was intended to remind millers about the importance of upholding the Rice Factory’s Act, and to further ensure that the quality of rice that they intend to export is of an acceptable standard.
Deputy Manager of the GRBD, Ricky Ramjai, told the millers that the rice industry is the single largest private sector entity.
He urged millers to maintain the sustainability of the industry by operating in an honest manner at all times, thus sending a clear warning to defaulters who fail to comply with the rice factory’s act that their licence could be suspended.
A senior worker attached to GRDB who has been conducting routine inspections at mills on the Essequibo Coast has found that the millers have so far been in compliance with the regulations, except for a few.
Millers were also reminded to ensure that the moisture and scale meters are working efficiently.
At one mill, however, findings revealed a system where a miller was deducting for weight and in that case the weight had been tallied twice. The official warned that taking extra weight from the farmers’ product was an illegal practice.
Last Thursday, the Guyana Rice Development Board, with intervention from the Government, paid out almost $261M to farmers who were owed by millers.
To date only two millers still have monies outstanding for farmers.
Farmers in the Region have already harvested rice. They are currently engaged in the preparation of their lands for the upcoming crop. (Yannason Duncan).
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