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Guyana to sell rice to Panama

Rice being loaded on Venezuela-bound vessel (File photo)

Guyana is preparing to sell rice to Panama, amid lingering uncertainty about the future of the lucrative Venezuelan market.

President Donald Ramotar told a news conference on Friday that details about the Panamanian rice market would be announced by Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy.

A few weeks ago I had a meeting with the President of Panama (Juan Carlos Varela) and have since sent a delegation to Panama to look for new markets ,the team has just returned … my initial  report is that the mission was successful .We have managed to get some new markets in Panama,” said Ramotar. Ramotar first explored the prospects for selling rice to Panama with Varela on the margins of a meeting in Colombia.

The search for new rice markets and returning to old ones like Europe has come at a time when Venezuela’s economy is in tatters and there is political uncertainty about the future of the administration of President Nicolas Maduro. Some analysts believe that if the Maduro administration loses power, the Venezuelan rice market and PetroCaribe might be scrapped by a successor administration.

Guyana is currently exploring other rice markets in Central America and Africa due to soaring production of the grain in recent years. Last year, 535,000 tonnses were produced of which 395,000 tonnes were exported. Guyana has set a production target of 600,000 tonnes for this year.

President Ramotar said that his Government is aggressively pursuing additional markets in Central America and Africa so as not to restrict the massive growth in production that the country has been witnessing, but rather to encourage even greater production.