Approximately 7,500 tonnes of white rice is being exported to Cuba.
On Monday, the Department of Public Information (DPI) said that the rice was being loaded at the Muneshwer’s Wharf in Georgetown.
General Manager (ag) of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Allison Peters said that it has been close to two decades since rice was exported to Cuba.
“This is the first shipment to Cuba since 1999 when the MARDS rice milling group sent about 400 tonnes of white rice to Cuba at a price of $345 US per tonne”, Peters said.
Representative of the Cuban firm ALIMPORT, Reynaldo Aguirre Labora, who is purchasing the rice on behalf of the government of Cuba, said that there has always been the need for quality rice to be sourced.
“We always make tenders, we look for better conditions for rice, the better quality, so we found that with some Guyanese exporters like Nand Persaud, we can have a good reasonable relationship with Guyana itself. It’s a Caribbean country, it’s very close to Cuba so it’s very convenient”, the representative said, according to DPI.
Peters said that the GRDB plays a vital role in ensuring that product quality is maintained. “The Guyana Rice Development Board is responsible for the quality and we will also do fumigation and we are confident with our preparations so we don’t expect any issues with the rice being loaded here or on arrival in Cuba.”
The ALIMPORT’s representative said that more purchases by Cuba can be expected.
“We are confident that this will be the beginning of a longstanding relationship. We trust also in the Guyana Rice Development Board and they show they are very serious in handling the quality of this shipment”, Labora noted.
The GRDB Head said that the shipment is the first part of an existing contract between Guyana and Cuba for rice trade between the two countries.
“There is a contract with this company for rice to be sent to Cuba so this is the first part of that contract and we hope that another one will be sent soon…not only the government of Guyana would do contracts but also private investors who are constantly looking for buyers with good prices to purchase rice.”
This consignment follows the first shipment of rice to Mexico in July 2017.
These new markets have been crucial following the end of the rice barter arrangement with Venezuela under the PetroCaribe agreement.