As per sources from the Ministry of Agriculture it has been indicated recently that Guyana wants a bilateral agreement with Belize for the supply of rice to the Central American nation where there is a shortfall in domestic production. The Agriculture Minister of Guyana Mr Noel Holder floated the idea of a rice accord as part of a Joint Commission approach in talks with Belize’s Deputy Prime Minister Mr Gaspar Vega who was visiting this South American nation. The Deputy Prime Minister also revealed in his statement that the current domestic production level which is averaged to be just below 10,000 tonnes is matched with that of the current domestic consumption level. Under these circumstances, where there is a shortage, it has been decided that Belize will be importing rice from Guyana.
Further, the idea of a bilateral accord came little more than one week after Belize’s High Court ruled out that a shipment of Guyanese rice could not be allowed on the market because the importer had not first sought approval from the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA). Additionally, Belizean rice producers had expressed concern that the cheaper high quality Guyanese rice would have eventually put them out of business. According to the statement issued by the Guyana’s Ministry of Agriculture that in the past if there were rice shortages in Belize and Guyana would be the only right market for the grain as Guyana has proven to produce high quality rice.
Moreover, the Deputy Prime Minister of Belize is also expected to hold follow-up talks with Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Carl Greenidge with the aim of Guyana securing another rice market in case if there is a shortage. Guyana’s rice production has been soaring in recent years, but since Venezuela stopped buying paddy and rice from Guyana, farmers and millers are hoping that another lucrative market could be found for the grain.