Senior officers of the Guyana Rice Producers Association and Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) yesterday engaged Essequibo rice farmers in two outreaches. The initial meetings were held to facilitate farmers, at Riverstown and its
environs while the other was held at the Sparta Primary School.
Those meetings facilitated discussions regarding prices for the current crop and added inputs targeted on the recently signed rice deal between Panama and Guyana. Focus was also placed on the seasoned Venezuela deal.
Addressing the farmers, General Manager Jagnarine Singh gave a brief history of GRDB and its mandate to engage farmers. Singh said GRDB is doing everything in its capacity to assist farmers as well keeping them informed of the industry.
“Whatever service we will provide, we will do it to our best.”
Singh explained that come September, Guyana intends to export some 20,000 tons of rice to Panama with another 50,000 tons scheduled to be exported the following year. Singh also mentioned searching interests that the rice industry continues to show in Nicaragua and Ghanaian markets. He said communication remains constant with officials of those countries.
Engagements are also currently being sought with the varying local banks with the aim of extending sufficient credits to millers which would result in prompt payments to rice farmers. Singh warned that if any miller breaches the licencing conditions, penalties should be instituted against that particular miller. He said thus far only one miller in the region owes almost $89M to one hundred and eight farmers.
General Secretary of the Guyana Rice Producers Association, Dharamkumar Seeraj, assured the farmers that his Association would continue to work with banks to look for adequate financing for millers in order to facilitate prompt payments to farmers.
Seeraj is of the view that millers should increase both the storage and drying capacity in order to increase intake. He said he believes the rice industry will do better this season, going into the Panama market.
“Timely payment is more important to higher pricing.”
Harvesting of the current rice crop has commenced in certain areas on the coast.
The meeting was attended by executive members of the Essequibo Paddy Farmers Association including Naith Ram. Present also was Region Two Region Two Chairman Parmanand Persaud and Extension Manager from the Research Centre, Kuldip Ragnauth.
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