By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – While the local rice farming community is still coming to grips with reports that the lucrative Guyana/Venezuela rice deal will not be renewed, Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge says that there has been no official word from Venezuela on the termination of the deal between the two countries.
Guyana and Venezuela are currently embroiled in a bitter controversy with the Nicolas Maduro led nation, claiming almost two thirds of Guyana’s oil rich exclusive economic zone even though the dispute was settled since 1899.
On Thursday last, news broke that Guyana will no longer be exporting large quantities of rice to Venezuela, sending a wave of concern throughout the rice industry as the collapse signals a certain downturn for the sector, given the fact that rice farmers are almost fully dependent on the Venezuelan market to export their produce.
Subsequently, Venezuela decided to immediately halt all shipment of rice, via a telephone call to the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB).
Under the current trade agreement, Guyana is expected to supply 210,000 tons of paddy and polished rice annually to Venezuela. The value of this supply amounts to US$130 million.
However, when questioned by reporters on Monday, July 13, Greenidge affirmed that there has been no official word from Venezuela as it relates to the end of the trade deal.
According to Greenidge, the government was told of the termination of the deal but he did not say what medium was used to communicate this message.