Farmers countrywide are to benefit from more than GYD$660M that has been paid to rice millers by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) for the supply of rice to Panama, according to a statement issued by that agency.
GRDB’s Acting General Manager Nizam Hassan explained on Saturday that “this is the payment that Guyana has received from Panama for its supply of almost 7,500 tonnes of rice. Over $660M has been paid out. All millers have been paid in full.”
This payment was made on the second contract for rice supplied to the Spanish country between September and October 2015.
With payment arriving in such a short time, GRDB says it is confident that this can be seen as a start to the potential end of lengthy waiting periods for rice payments, by farmers.
Hassan said, “Farmers can expect payment now that millers have been paid.”
GRDB has been working closely with all stakeholders to address the ongoing challenge farmers’ face in receiving early payment from millers, for paddy sold.
Rice farmers have over the years been complaining bitterly about late and low payments for paddy sold to millers even when the rice and paddy were being sold to the lucractive Venezuelan market.
Venezuela has stopped buying Guyana’s rice and has instead turned to neighbouring Suriname for its supplies in what the Guyana government has described as an “economic embargo” due to the border controversy over the Essequibo Region that flared up again this year.
Venezuela in late May issued a decree unilaterally extending its maritime boundary to include all of the Atlantic Sea offshore Essequibo where an American oil company has found a huge deposit of high quality oil.
Guyana wants the United Nations to refer the controversy over the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award to the International Court of Justice for a legal opinion while Venezuela prefers the Good Officer mediation process to be retained.