Guyana to export rice to Cuba; first shipment in 18 years

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) says it will be exporting approximately 7,500 tonnes of white rice to Cuba.

General Manager of the GRDB, Allison Peters who visited the Muneshwar's Wharf here on Monday as the rice was being loaded, said that it has been close to two decades since rice was exported to the Spanish speaking Caribbean island.

“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 US$345 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,” Labora said.

According to Peters, the GRDB plays an integral 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 shipments to the 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 concluded the shipment deal 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, even as more markets continue to be sought for the export of seed paddy and rice in the near future.

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