Inside sources revealed that rice farmers in Region Two today only received 50% of their paddy payment for the last crop from millers, and there is a big decline in the prices for paddy. Early in the crop the price offered was A grade $3,200, B grade $3,100, and C grade $3,000; the prices now being offered are A $2,900, B $2,800 and C $2,700 for a bag of paddy.
However, with the high stocks of rice and paddy in the millers’ warehouses and no markets there has been a cut-back in the prices for paddy and this will add more pressure to the farmers’ income. Over the past years there has been a general decline of paddy prices in all the rice-growing regions.
The worst affected area was Region Two. There was a significant disparity in the export prices for Guyana’s rice and paddy on the international market and has had further consequences for farmers, millers and Guyana as a whole.
Guyana in the last few years faced a serious threat to its earning position as other rice-producing countries began offering more competitive prices for rice and paddy. This is undoubtedly a bold move to capture a greater share of the international market. For Guyana the implication can be quite serious indeed. Rice farmers will have to expect that these low prices will soon be translated into their profits and will inevitably threaten their income.
In addition, rice and paddy are entering the Caribbean markets, and Guyana will have grave difficulties competing, as the release of stocks primarily from the Asian countries will further add more pressure on the already low prices. It will be necessary to do an analysis (technical and economic) on the ability of Guyana rice to compete with these Asian countries for market space. There is no more assurance of Guyana having preferential access to the EU and Caricom markets.
Brazil could be our base market in South and Latin America; however, we will need the best bilateral trade negotiation team. I would suggest Mr Nigel Dharamlall, Mr Dharamkumar Seeraj, Mr Brian Greenidge, Mr Jagnarine Singh and Mr Rickey Roopchand.