Guyana sees export growth in rice, other commodities to Cuba

Last Updated on Friday, 12 October 2018, 15:56 by Denis Chabrol

FLASH BACK: White rice being loaded in the vessel’s hatch for shipment to Cuba in September, 2017.

Guyana is moving to increase trade with Cuba to which millions of dollars in goods have been exported, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday.

Guyana’s Ambassador to Cuba, Halim Majeed, disclosed that the amount of rice exported in 2018, for instance, has more than quadrupled when compared to last year.

“In 2017, we sold 15,500 tonnes of rice to Cuba; this year, so far, we sold more than 70, 000 tonnes. Our target is to see whether we can export up to 125, 000 tonnes by the end of this year,” Majeed was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry in Georgetown.

He labeled the growth in exports a “significant breakthrough” for Guyanese rice.

Meanwhile, exports in lumber and other products to Cuba amounted to some US $1.2M or an equivalent of GY $240M last year. As of June this year, that figure expanded to US $1.9M.

“We are now trying to see how we can export other products to Cuba such as fruits and vegetables, meat, and paints,” the Guyanese diplomat indicated. He further stated that in a recent meeting, representatives of the Guyanese forest products association recorded an interest in having a more organized mechanism of trade in lumber and shingles with Cuba.

Economic diplomacy has been cited as critical to Guyana’s progress and has taken centre stage in the State’s relationship with many countries since the 2016 appointment of new heads of overseas missions.

Guyana and Cuba established diplomatic relations on December 8, 1972. The two countries share a strong bilateral relationship which has been characterized by many exchanges at the government level and cooperation under the Guyana/Cuba Joint Commission. Trade is a renewed dimension of the decades old friendship