rice exports to JamaicaAs per recent information available, it has been indicated that despite serious concerns ventilated by the Guyana Rice Exporters and Millers Association (GREMA) and numerous large rice exporters, the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) through its General Manager, Mr Nizam Hassan was adamant that the contract signed on March 1 this year with two Jamaican companies will not limit the export of rice to Jamaica. However, that the contractual arrangement will be a plus for Guyana’s rice industry resulting in an increase in price per tonne of rice. It was also claimed that the rice exporters would receive US$400 per tonne of rice as contrasted with the average price per tonne of US$345 to US$370. It was reiterated that Guyanese millers will earn an additional US$30-US$55 per tonne of rice exported to Jamaica or an additional US$2.4-US$4.4 million annually (Guyana Chronicle April 25, 2016).

Further, in this regard, it was explained that, since the implementation of that contract rice millers and exporters were effectively restricted from exporting to Jamaica, as the GRDB implemented quotas and blocked them from selling through their own contractual arrangements as was done previously. The GRDB, therefore, has the final authority to say who should export and how much. Moreover, GREMA had also revealed that the contractual agreement which GRDB had entered into with the two Jamaican companies will take the rice industry down the road to financial ruin, as it has been revealed that the price, the rice exporters are receiving is far less than what they were receiving before this GRDB Jamaica contractual arrangement.

Furthermore, the new ‘development’ is that rice exporters are now mandated to submit credit notes to the two Jamaican companies: Jamaica Rice Milling Company Limited and Musson Jamaica Limited to the value of US$30 per tonne of rice exported to these companies. One rice exporter K Dyal & Son was required to submit credit notes to the amount of US$22,398. Therefore, it has been stated that, the rice exporters are now getting US$370 per tonne. But this price is not what the rice millers actually receive since there are allegations of irregularities. Hence the rice exporters are now getting below the US$376 that they were getting before the infamous Jamaican contract. The government through the Minister of Shanti Agro Industries Pvt. Ltd.Agriculture should address this debilitating situation before it is too late. With El Niño, La Niña and declining production, the rice industry can ill afford this GRDB-induced setback.