By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chief Executive Officer of Alesie Rice Group Dr. Turhane Doerga says that the government should cease taking credit for the success of Guyana’s rice industry since it has done nothing to aid that process.
Dr Doerga at a press conference on Thursday, February 26 said that what the government has done is effectively run the industry into the ground and now a crisis looms as there are thousands of tonnes of rice from the last crop still at silos with the spring crop fast approaching.
He told a room filled with journalists, millers and rice farmers that “there is no answer” to the impending “crisis” that will severely affect those operating in the rice sector over the next couple of weeks.
“This impending crisis has been created as a result of the unnecessary control of the industry by the Minister of Agriculture, Leslie Ramsammy, and his PPP cronies at the Guyana Rice Producers Association, a front-organisation of the PPP and the Guyana Rice Development Board. The rice industry is the only private sector entity that is legally controlled by the state through an Act of Parliament,” a statement noted.
Doerga, who is internationally recognized for his stellar contributions to several rice industries across the world, said that billions of dollars in tax payers monies have gone to run sugar.
“Yes they run sugar…right into the ground,” said Dr Doerga.
“The impending crop will now bring unavoidably much grief to rice farmers as millers must be mad people to buy the paddy if the PPP cannot show a market and upfront pay for the paddy. Although reputable millers will want to help but with the corruption in the GRDB (Guyana Rice Development Board) and the GRPA (Guyana Rice Producers Association) they will think twice before they do so,” said the Alesie Group CEO.
Meanwhile, Jinnah Rahman a rice farmer and Chairman of the Rice Producers Association Action Committee said that for the rice industry to be truly privatized, several Acts in Guyana’s constitution would need to be amended.
“When the PPP criticize the Burnham era it must also criticize itself because it has done nothing to change it” said Rahman adding “none of them in the PPP know anything about the rice industry – they are all rice eaters.”
When contacted, General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Jagnarine Singh told iNews that there is no impending crisis in the rice industry.
He said that the Board continues to engage several countries across the world with the aim to export rice to those countries.
“There is no crisis. We are almost in a stage of finalizing the contract with Venezuela which will happen in a matter of days,”Singh told iNews.