In spite of the loss of the Petrocaribe deal Venezuela is Guyana’s biggest rice market, accounting for 34 per cent or 177,682 tonnes of all that grain exported to several Latin American countries last year.
That’s the word from the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), which is reporting that despite Venezuela stopping the rice for oil PetroCaribe agreement with Guyana in 2016, a number of private exporters are still selling rice to that neighbouring Spanish-speaking country.
Latest figures show that Guyanese rice exporters earned US$227 million in exports to more than 35 countries last year. The GRDB says that figure represents a 20 percent increase in export earnings more than the US$186 million that were earned last year.
Coming second to Venezuela was Portugal, which bought just over 60,000 tonnes or rice or 12 per cent of all exports of the grain. Other main importers of Guyana’s rice were Cuba, Columbia, Honduras and Panama.
Looking at the Caricom market, the GRDB said almost 69,956 tonnes of rice or 13 per cent valued at US$35 million were exported in 2019. Of this figure, Jamaica imported 32,743 tonnes and Trinidad 25,417 tonnes.
The GRDB says Guyana exported rice to ten CARICOM countries, namely; Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent, St Kitts, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. As it relates to export by product, the GRDB says white rice was the largest export earner, accounting for 51 percent of the total amount of rice exported in 2019.
That earned more than US $128 million. Other products exported were parboiled rice, cargo rice, paddy rice and bran.
The GRDB says 214,190 tonnes of rice (41 per cent) were shipped to the European Union in 2019, compared with 146,092 tonnes shipped in 2018, an increase of 47 per cent. The main importing countries were Portugal, Italy, United Kingdom and Spain.
The GRDB says Guyana produced more than one million tonnes of paddy rice for 2019, making it the second highest production year for rice in Guyana. With annual average yields increasing steadily and closing 2019 at almost six tonnes per hectare, production is expected to continue to increase in the coming year.