Guyana hopes to sell more rice to other non-traditional markets as the South American country desperately searches for new markets to make up for the looming loss of the lucrative Venezuelan market.
Second Vice President, Khemraj Ramjattan made the disclosure during an interview on New York’s WEERadio on Saturday, saying that selling to grain Portugal, Panama and Haiti was aimed at getting the rice industry out of the current crisis. “It might not be the best prices like the Venezuelans were giving but that’s a major plan to save that rice industry,” he said.
Ramjattan said the price being paid by those three countries is about US$390 per tone compared to US$700 that is being paid by Caracas.
Venezuela earlier this year told Guyana that it would be no longer buying rice and paddy from Guyana after the current expires, at a time when relations between the two countries are at an all-time low over Caracas’ claims to Essequibo and the waters offshore that region.
Rice industry experts say that already Venezuela had cut back the amount of rice it is purchasing from Guyana.
Guyana this year exported about 79,000 tons of rice t Venezuela for 2015 compared to 187,000 tons last year and 221,000 in 2013.