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Guyana seals another rice, paddy deal with Venezuela

Paddy being loaded on a cargo ship to be taken to Venezuela. (file photo)

Despite political and economic troubles in neighbouring Venezuela, that Spanish-speaking country has agreed to buy more rice and paddy from Guyana but the prices remain a secret.

“The price for paddy and rice agreed on will also be similar to 2014,” said Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy without providing actual figures.

He led a team last week to Caracas where he had intensive discussions that led to the conclusion of  the 2015 rice contract with Venezuela.

He said the first shipment of rice and paddy is expected to leave Guyana just before harvesting of the first crop gets into full gear.

Ramsammy said Venezuela would purchase close to 200,000 tons of paddy and rice in 2015, though the proportions would vary compared to last year. While there is expected to be a 4% decline – from 34%- , he said the actual amount of rice and paddy exports to Venezuela would be “approximately the same.” “This is because we expect a bigger production in 2015,” he said.

He said “most of the carry-over rice” from 2014 between export and local consumption has been accounted for, and as new harvesting takes place, stocks would be replenished.

The Agriculture Minister again assured that Guyana was diversifying its rice export markets in Central America and Africa, a suggestion that the country was seeking to reduce its reliance on Venezuela.

“Expectation for 2015 for the rice industry is an exciting one and we are thrilled that Venezuela continues to be a vital part of our rice industry,” he said.

Ramsammy hopes that an estimated GUY$50 billion would be paid to farmers “on a more timely basis” this year for paddy.