Bankers, millers discuss rice payments
-value-added being examined by GRDB
Earlier this month, bankers and rice millers met with the agriculture ministry to discuss the overdraft system and to work out criteria to assist with loans.
Stabroek News understands that the meeting, which was facilitated by the ministry on June 9, was set up to address the major concerns of the industry due to a high level of production but weak export market which results in millers owing farmers on a continuous basis.
With the exception of the Bank of Baroda (Guyana), all of the major financial institutions were present during the discussions as well as Dr Peter deGroot who was one of the representatives on behalf of the millers. Representatives from the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) and the Rice Producers Association (RPA) were also present.
President of the RPA, Dharamkumar Seeraj, told Stabroek News that payments to farmers continue to be an issue. He explained that in relation to the Venezuelan Rice Agreement the GRDB is to receive payment under the barter arrangement and millers are then paid. This only happens once the rice and paddy are delivered to Caracas. As a result many millers are unable to pay farmers in a timely manner.
Seeraj noted that the millers needed to take responsibility because the arrangement has always been that payment was only received when the rice was delivered to Venezuela. Since millers are aware of the situation they would need to be prepared to pay farmers prior to them receiving payments if need be.