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Guyana resumes rice, paddy shipments to Venezuela

Workers loading paddy destined for Venezuela onto a vessel at Muneshwers’ Wharf

Guyana on Monday resumed shipping rice and paddy to the lucrative Venezuelan market.

The first shipment of about 6,000 tonnes of paddy due for Venezuela, began loading today at the Muneshwers’ Wharf, Georgetown.

Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy told the Government Information Agency that this, the first shipment for 2014, is expected to sail either Monday night or early Tuesday morning. He said that another shipment is expected to depart in two days from the same facility. About 100,000 tonnes of rice and paddy are expected to be shipped to the neighbouring country by the end of April.

It is anticipated that a maximum of two shipments per week will be exported until November, later this year.
A total of 200,000 tonnes of rice and paddy are due to be exported for the period to the Spanish-speaking country. This year’s initial rice shipments were delayed due to the civil unrest in Venezuela.

Minister Ramsammy said about 400,000 tonnes of rice and paddy are to be exported for this year.
The rice pact was initiated in 2010 between former President Bharrat Jagdeo and the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. The agreement aims to strengthen food security in both countries.

In late 2011, government signed a US$54 million agreement with its western neighbour to supply 50,000 metric tonnes of paddy at US$520 per metric tonne, and 20,000 metric tonnes of white rice at US$800 per metric tonne.
In 2013, US$130 million worth of rice was exported to Venezuela.