Guyana exports rice to Cuba for the first time in 18 years

Last Updated on Monday, 25 September 2017, 16:38 by Denis Chabrol

White rice being loaded in the vessel’s hatch for shipment to Cuba.

Approximately 7,500 tonnes of white rice is being exported to Cuba, following an announcement made by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) of possible exports to that Caribbean country.

Government’s Department of Public Information reported that on Monday, September 25, 2017 the rice was loaded on a vessel docked at Muneshwer’s Wharf in Georgetown. General Manager (ag) of the GRDB, Allison Peters said that it has been close to two decades since rice was exported to Cuba.

“This is the first shipment to Cuba since 1999 when the MARDS rice milling group sent about 400 tonnes of white rice to Cuba at a price of $345US per tonne”, Peters said.

Representative of the Cuban firm ALIMPORT, Reynaldo Aguirre Labora, who is purchasing the rice on behalf of the government of Cuba, said that there has always been the need for quality rice to be sourced. This is one of the main reasons for the purchase of Guyana’s rice.

“We always make tenders, we look for better conditions for rice, the better quality, so we found that with some Guyanese exporters like Nand Persaud, we can have a good reasonable relationship with Guyana itself. It’s a Caribbean country, it’s very close to Cuba so it’s very convenient”, the representative said.

ALIMPORT (Cuba) representative, Reynaldo Aguirre Labora.

According to Peters, the GRDB plays an integral role in ensuring that product quality is maintained. “The Guyana Rice Development Board is responsible for the quality and we will also do fumigation and we are confident with our preparations so we don’t expect any issues with the rice being loaded here or on arrival in Cuba.”

The ALIMPORT’s representative said that more shipments to the Cuba can be expected. “We are confident that this will be the beginning of a longstanding relationship. We trust also in the Guyana Rice Development Board and they show they are very serious in handling the quality of this shipment”, Labora noted.

The GRDB Head concluded the shipment deal is the first part of an existing contract between Guyana and Cuba for rice trade between the two countries. “There is a contract with this company for rice to be sent to Cuba so this is the first part of that contract and we hope that another one will be sent soon…not only the government of Guyana would do contracts but also private investors who are constantly looking for buyers with good prices to purchase rice.”

This consignment follows the first shipment of rice to Mexico in July 2017. More markets continue to be sought for the export of seed paddy and rice in the near future.

Paddy production for the first crop of 2017 was recorded at 518,667 metric tonnes. It is projected that local rice production will increase by 1.3 percent for 2017.