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Large rice farmers still have to buy expensive fertilizer- Ramsammy

Small rice farmers stand to benefit the most from cheaper fertilizer being supplied by Venezuela under the PetroCaribe agreement but large farmers would have to buy some of the material, Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy said on Monday.

“The small farmer will benefit the most because they will meet close to a hundred percent of their needs whereas as you get to be a bigger farmer, the percentage of your needs would become less and less,” he told a news conference.

He said fertilizer imported from the neighbouring Spanish-speaking country would be sold at GUY$5,000 per bag in contrast to market prices of between GUY$8,000 and GUY$10,000 per bag

Ramsammy said efforts were being made to source ships to bring a total of 10,000 tons of fertilizer that government has bought directly. He declined to say how much Guyana has paid for that consignment.

The Minister of Agriculture could not immediately say how Guyana would be paying Venezuela for future fertilizer supplies and whether the formula would include barter.

The fertilizer is expected to be shipped to cater for the two rice crops per year.

Under the PetroCaribe agreement, Guyana is required to export at least 210,000 tons of rice worth US$130 million annually to Venezuela.