–and millers have paid off almost all farmers
RICE sowing for the 2014 spring crop, the first crop, has already commenced in some areasGENREAL Secretary of the Guyana Rice Producers Association (RPA), Mr. Dharamkumar Seeraj, informed this publication in an invited comment that sowing for the 2014 rice spring crop in Region 2 (Pomeroon/Supenaam) has almost been completed.
“Overall,” he said, “while most of the rice has been harvested — 98 per cent to date — there is also a lot of rice that has been sown for the next crop.”
The RPA Head said 2013 production so far stands at 532,000 tonnes, which is far above what had been originally targeted. This production bests the 2012 production by more than 25 per cent, he disclosed.
In 2011, the rice sector had surpassed the 400,000-tonne mark for the first time in history, and in 2012 it replicated that performance by going over the 2011 production. This year, the sector continues to break records with its consistently increasing production.
As per production quality, Seeraj said: “The productivity as well as the quality of the rice we are seeing has been better overall, making this autumn crop — the second crop — better than the first crop.” This increased production bodes well for exports in that sector, he confided.
He said: “We have finished (supplying) our paddy quota to Venezuela, and the shipping of our rice quota should be completed by the first half of January. The delay is due to a logistical problem; we have a problem with not having enough containers (to fetch the rice) because we are not talking about five of six, but three and four hundred containers. So by the first half of January we are hoping to exhaust our rice contract.”
Seeraj told the Guyana Chronicle that negotiations are ongoing to extend the paddy contract, even as discussions are about to be finalized in regard to shipping for 2014.
Touching on a sore issue in the sector: payment, the RPA head said almost all farmers have been paid by millers. “Payment (is) much better than last crop, primarily because shipments are being made; but in Regions 2 and 3, farmers are still (being) owed. We had a meeting last week, and farmers should be paid off by December 18,” he said.
Once payments have been completed, the matter of interest on outstanding payments will be addressed, with the assistance of representation from the RPA on behalf of the rice farmers.
(By Vanessa Narine)