Persaud warns rice farmers not to forego traditional markets for Venezuela

The Ministry of Agriculture has cautioned rice farmers and other stakeholders against sacrificing their traditional rice export markets in order to access the Venezuelan market under the new US$54 million deal it signed with that country.

Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud told millers and exporters that while the new rice agreement with Venezuela is timely and provides Guyana with more competitive markets for its crop, the deal comes at a time when Venezuela is experiencing problems and as such they must “continue to pursue traditional rice export markets.”

A  Government Information Agency (GINA) press release said Persaud and Venezuelan Ambassador Dario Morandy on Tuesday signed an agreement for the supply of 50,000 tonnes of paddy at US$520 per metric tonne and 20,000 metric tonnes of rice at US$800 per metric tonne to Venezuela.

The agreement extends and revises three previous contracts, GINA noted.

According to Persaud, the ministry has received reports that several exporters have been telling rice farmers they are unable to supply the traditional markets because of Venezuela. The ministry will not allow persons to sacrifice the traditional markets or give preference to Venezuela, Persaud said.

Further, he said only exporters who honour their commitments to farmers and other stakeholders can benefit from the new deal and access the Venezuela market.

He also said the Mahaicony Rice Mill is one of the exporters that will not benefit from the new arrangement as it has proven to be an unreliable stakeholder in the industry.

Persaud said this mill owes farmers and has other liabilities and will only be allowed to access the new market after it has satisfied its commitments.

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