RICE millers in Guyana have agreed to work in closer collaboration to ensure that a “Guyana price” for rice is maintained, according to Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy.
“The millers will work closer together so there isn’t the chance for international buyers to go below certain price. This way the millers don’t undersell each other and they are able to still get an attractive price, they maintain a Guyana price,” he said.
The local rice sector’s progress in the last few years has been record-breaking, in both the production and export levels. For 2014, production is expected to surpass last year’s 535,212 tonnes.
Successful moves have also been made in securing greater markets for Guyana’s rice.
RICE TO PANAMA
Guyana has already shipped the first monthly export of 5,000 tonnes of white rice to Panama.
Panama’s rice imports currently stand at 150,000 tonnes annually, in addition to their own rice production and the rice deal, which was signed by the Panama’s Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Estebana Giron Dias, and the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) General Manager, Mr. Jagnarine Singh, will see Guyana exporting 50,000 tonnes, of the 150,000 tonnes, to Panama.
The remaining 100,000 tonnes, according to Dr. Ramsammy, can be supplied by Guyana’s private sector, since the two Governments agreed on levelling the playing field for Guyanese companies to be able to bid to supply the remaining tonnage. At present, Panama’s private sector controls the local food market, making it an open market.
On this note, the Agriculture Minister stated that Guyana’s private sector has been successful in competing with USA suppliers in Panama. In totality, Guyana will see close to 30,000 tonnes of rice shipped to the Central American country.
Additionally, the arrangements for rice shipments to countries in West Africa are still being finalised.
With the new export markets secured in 2014, Guyana is expected to export between 475,000 to 500,000 tons for 2014 and to reach about 550,000 tons in 2015.
The actual export target for 2014 was 460,000 tons. The export in 2013 was 394,000 tons, from a production of 535,212 tonnes, which was far above the original target of 413,000 tonnes.