Multi-million dollar rice agreement
GEORGETOWN – Guyana says it has signed a US$54 million contract to supply paddy and rice to Venezuela, making it one of the biggest agreements it has had with any country for the local product.
A government statement said that this was the fourth agreement between the two countries since Caracas agreed to import rice from Guyana and that the agreements were as a result of discussions between President Bharrat Jagdeo and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez “a few years ago when rice prices were unattractive”.
Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud and Venezuelan Ambassador Dario Morandy said the new agreement would allow for the export of 50 000 tonnes of paddy at US$520 per metric tonne and 20 000 metric tonnes of rice at US$800 per metric tonne.
“The rice export agreement has been extended with the upgrading of three previous contracts and the establishment of this the fourth deal. The first contract: 40 000 metric tonnes of paddy for US$380 per metric tonnes was revised to US$420 per metric tonne and 10 000 metric tonnes of white rice at US$600 per metric tonne. This was further revised to US$ 700 per metric tonne,” the government statement said.
Outstanding from the previous contract, Guyana will supply 16 000 tonnes of white rice and 5 000 tonnes of paddy.
Persaud said that the new contract was not only the largest rice deal Guyana had ever had with Venezuela, but was also the biggest trade agreement it had ever had with any other country with respect to rice.
“We cannot ever overstress how important rice is to our national economy and the livelihood of thousands of individuals . . . and so the impact of this agreement, as well as the impact which is taking place countrywide in the industry will lead to improvements in the quality of life of our people and will ensure that the future for rice remains strong, and that the industry can grow from strength to strength.”
Persaud described the Venezuelan market as reliable and predictable and the prices offered as higher than those currently presented on the world market.
Rice farmers, millers and exporters are now allowed to benefit from an increased quantity of rice exports and also earn better prices for their produce.
Meanwhile rice harvesting has begun for this crop and the total amount of rice produced for 2011 so far has been estimated at 249 239 metric tonnes. (CMC)