Guyana has been able to seal a deal with Panama for the supply of 5,000 tonnes of rice per month beginning in September and taking the contract period up to the end of this year.
A statement from the Ministry of Agriculture today said that new contracts for 2015 are to be negotiated on satisfactory conclusion of these initial contracts. The booming local rice industry has been in need of new markets. Its major market at the moment is Venezuela which is an oil barter agreement. The Panama market is likely to be based on world market prices.
The statement said that the contracts to export rice to Panama in September and monthly to the end of 2014 were signed at the Office of the Minister of Agriculture in Panama City on August 14th 2014. Final terms for the contract were agreed to after negotiation between Guyana’s team of Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, Dharamkumar Seeraj and Jagnarine Singh and the team from the Ministry of Agriculture of Panama, led by the Vice Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Esteban Giron.
The signing of the new contracts to supply rice to Panama in a Government-to-Government arrangement ensures that Guyana’s rice market continues to expand, even as production has risen significantly. The Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Agriculture and the GRDB, and in collaboration with the RPA, has been working to expand market for Guyana’s rice and paddy to overseas market, the statement said.
The statement says Panama imports about 150,000 tons of rice annually, through the private sector. The bid to import about 50,000 tons of rice through a Government to Government arrangement is seeking to ensure people have access to an important dietary staple at affordable price as the Government of Panama try to control cost of living in Panama.
The agreement means that Guyana can supply more than 50,000 tons of rice to Panama annually through the Government to Government arrangement and also compete in an open market to supply some of the remaining 100,000 tons per year.
Photo shows Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy (left) sealing the deal.