Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy last week witnessed more than 5,000 tonness of rice being loaded for shipment to Venezuela at the John Fernandes Wharf.
In a press release, the ministry said Guyana has already shipped more than 153,000 metric tonnes of rice to Venezuela for the year. Ramsammy said Guyana must continue to build this new market and he plans to work directly with his counterparts in that country, as well as the Guyana Rice Development Board, the Rice Producers Association and the rice millers and farmers to ensure this becomes reality.
Rice exports have exceeded 277,000 tonnes for the year and Guyana has earned more than US$157 million. Venezuela is currently the largest importer of Guyana rice, which with this latest shipment would have bought almost 160,000 tonnes of rice. Other countries that import Guyana rice are Jamaica, which to date has bought almost 46,000 tonnes, Trinidad and Tobago, more than 20,000 tonnes and the European Union, which has bought almost 50,000 tonnes. Guyana produced more than 400,000 tonnes of rice last year and is on track to surpass that amount in 2011.
Ramsammy is currently working with local stakeholders to encourage and promote rice cultivation during this crop season. The minister has authorised the cleaning of important irrigation canals in Region Three and has authorised the expenditure of more than $3 million for fuel for the Dawa pump in Essequibo, Region Two to pump water into the irrigation system to compensate for low rainfall levels there.