Apr 09, 2016 News
– Rice farmers’ plight necessitated urgency
Following the controversy that was raised about the Guyana Rice Development Board’s (GRDB) contract with overseas based HDM labs Inc. for the supply of urea fertilizer, the GRDB yesterday offered justification for the deal.
According to the GRDB, discussions were started with suppliers overseas and a contract was entered into with HDM labs, because of the “perceived urgency” in the industry caused by the loss of the Venezuelan rice market last year.
“Guyana Rice Development Board held consultations with farmers and farmers’ representatives towards the end of the second rice crop in 2015, with the aim of assisting farmers with reducing production costs of growing paddy.”
“Following the decision by Venezuela to stop importing rice and paddy from Guyana, millers were selling their rice on the world market from US$335 to US$400 per tonne,” GRDB pointed out. “The price paid by Venezuela was US$ 760 per tonne. It therefore was imperative that farmers manage their production costs and improve productivity.”
According to GRDB, one of the ways in which this could have been done was by assisting in making fertilizer available to farmers at lower prices. The price for urea fertilizer at that time was between $5,500 and $6,500 per bag.
“It is noteworthy, that when local suppliers became knowledgeable of GRDB’s attempt to reduce the cost of fertilizer to farmers for supply of urea, the price immediately fell from $1,000 to $2,000 per bag.”
“However, while payment for the fertilizer was by Letter of Credit established through a local commercial bank, the supplier requested that the Letter of Credit be irrevocable and transferable.”
The GRDB stated that this suggested that a supply from that source was not immediately available. However, the local bank only provides the service of irrevocable Letter of Credit which is not transferrable.
“GRDB continued to monitor the supply and prices of urea on the local market and has been in constant communication with HDM Labs Inc. since the supply of this commodity can no longer be considered urgent and immediate.”
The Rice Board, which is an extension of the Ministry of Agriculture and is managed by General Manager, Nizam Hassan, has been taking flak from certain quarters including the Rice Producers Association (RPA) over the deal, which is being described as having been made behind closed doors.
During a recent press conference, the RPA told media operatives that the government had “subverted” the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) for the sole-sourcing of fertilizer. The association related that Cabinet approved a contract for the procurement of urea fertilizer to the value of over $400M, with the executing agent being GRDB.
Noting that the move contravened norms and conventions applicable to the acquisition of farmers’ inputs, they also stated that there was no advertisement and bidding, which is the “imperative prelude to a process that follows the prescribed conventions for the sourcing of farming supplies.”
“The contractor identified is not known to be a supplier of urea but has been a popular and publicly-known campaign financier of the APNU/AFC Coalition in the recent elections.”
The RPA had also said that companies and individuals who have for decades supplied urea to the Guyanese market, at “highly competitive prices” that were negotiated by the RPA – which is the rice farmers’ representative, were not notified of the contract.
Jul 26, 2021Keisha Abrigo, Alex Parmanand – Open; Homwattie Hirawan (Classic), Frank Tucker (Equipped), Noel Cummings (Classic) Masters are Best Lifters By Franklin Wilson The new executive of the Guyana...
Jul 26, 2021
Jul 26, 2021
Jul 26, 2021
Jul 25, 2021
Jul 25, 2021
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]