With the local rice industry keen to maximize such opportunities as may arise to secure replacements to help compensate for the loss of the Venezuelan market under the PetroCaribe arrangement, Cuba, an importer of around 500,000 tonnes of rice annually, could emerge as a key replacement market for Guyana’s rice industry.
Following the successful conclusion of a deal between Nand Persaud and Company and the Cuban state-run entity, ALIMPORT, a second major local player in the rice sector, Hakh Group of Companies, concluded a contract with ALIMPORT under which further shipments of rice will be exported to Cuba.
Earlier this week, Stabroek Business spoke with Riyadh Hakh a senior official of the company who disclosed that a contract was signed with ALIMPORT in February under which the Hakh Group will export an undisclosed amount of rice to Cuba this year. The first shipment was scheduled to leave Port Georgetown for Cuba earlier this week while Hakh told Stabroek Business that a second vessel would sail to Cuba later this year. Hakh said that the focus of the local company would be on seeking to expand its market share in Cuba.
Stabroek Business understands that the ALIMPORT delegation which was scheduled to arrive here on Monday to oversee arrangements for the shipping of the rice to Cuba is being led by the entity’s Commercial Specialist Reynaldo Aguirre Labora and includes Technical Specialist Maria Cristina Ramos Perdomo. The Cuban delegation was expected to inspect Hakh’s rice-milling plants as well as its packaging, shipping and logistical arrangements.
Much of the groundwork preceding the conclusion of the ALIMPORT deal with the Hakh Group of Companies was laid by the Guyana Embassy in Havana where Guyana’s Ambassador to Cuba Halim Majeed earlier this week met with ALIMPORT officials to finalize the visit to Guyana and to explore potential further bilateral business opportunities.
Meanwhile, Stabroek Business has learnt that the Berbice rice entity, Nand Persaud and Company which last year exported 15,000 metric tonnes of rice to Havana under a contract signed with ALIMPORT, is set to provide Cuba with a further 15,000 metric tonnes this year.