Guyana inks new rice agreement with Panama

first_imgDespite the tension between Guyana and Panama last year, the two countries have patched up their differences and have reportedly already signed on to a new agreement for the supply of rice.This is according to President of the Guyana Rice Exporters and Millers Association (GREMA), Rajindra Persaud during a brief interview with this publication on Monday.He said, “Everything is resolved” and further informed that local rice millers were able to resend the correct shipment of rice which was ordered by the country, latePresident of the Guyana Rice Exporters and Millers Association, Rajindra Persaudlast year.According to him, a number of other shipments were sent to the country after the stumble on the part of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) which was responsible for running necessary checks and tests on the rice before it left Guyana.It was at this point, that the President disclosed that the two countries have entered a new agreement. He was unable to give specifics on the contract but confirmed that the relationship between Guyana and Panama has been restored.In October 2018, it was reported that Panama had rejected some 20 containers of rice from Guyana and another shipment was expected to leave to replace the faulty product.Guyana’s rice was rejected upon arrival in Panama since it did not meet the stipulated specification as was outlined by that country.“The containers are being reshipped to Guyana…the contract was for white rice, and parboiled was shipped instead; that is the issue,” Persaud explained.Back in 2014, Guyana had signed a five-year agreement with Panama, under the previous Administration, to have its product marketed.With the collapse of the lucrative PetroCaribe (rice for oil) Venezuela market in 2015, the challenges faced within the rice industry have been significant.The PetroCaribe deal was set to expire in November 2015, but Venezuela axed the rice deal months before the official due date. However, Government had said that the Spanish-speaking nation may still be purchasing Guyana’s rice, but through neighbouring Suriname.The PetroCaribe deal was sealed by then President Bharrat Jagdeo and late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Under this deal, Guyana was required to pay upfront a percentage of the cost of fuel acquired from Venezuela, with the balance, which was placed in the PetroCaribe Fund at the Bank of Guyana, being treated as a loan repayable over 23 years with a two-year grace period and two per cent interest.last_img

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