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Mar 24, 2015

Major Rice Producer Speaks on Retail Prices

The retail cost of rice on the local market remains a topic of discussion since last Thursday when Belize City businessman Jack Charles issued a release shedding light on seemingly exorbitant prices.  Charles, proprietor of Xtra House, has expressed an interest in importing rice from Guyana at a cost, he argues, that would be significantly cheaper on the shelves.  In fact, Charles maintains that the controlled price per pound of grain should be kept at sixty-nine cents.  The current retail price however, hovers above a dollar and fifteen cents per pound.  News Five has attempted to seek clarity on that considerable difference, but the Bureau of Standards, as well as the Belize Marketing and Development Corporation are tightlipped on the issue.  Earlier today, we spoke by phone with Stanley Rempel, Managing Director of Circle R Products in Blue Creek.  While he admits that rice can be imported for less, Rempel says that existing prices reflect the cost of cereal grown locally.

 

Stanley Rempel

Via Phone: Stanley Rempel, Managing Director, Circle R Products

“The existing retail price of rice is around one [dollar] and fifteen [cents] to one [dollar] and twenty [cents].  There are prices as high as one [dollar] forty [cents] but we all know that there are different grades of rice.  There is premium grade and then there is lower grade and the retail price right now is at one [dollar] fifteen [cents] I understand.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“As a producer, there are other importers who are essentially saying that rice can be brought into the country of Belize at a far cheaper price for resale.  Would you concur that this is so, or this can be so, or is there a specific reason why there is a markup on the cost of local rice?”

 

Via Phone: Stanley Rempel

“That is right.  Rice can be imported cheaper.  We all know that Guyana has a huge advantage in producing rice, which we don’t have in this country.  The local cost of growing rice reflects the price of rice locally.  So there is, rice is being wholesaled between eighty-five and ninety [cents] currently in the country.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“And then the markup takes it to a dollar and fifteen cents.”

 

Via Phone: Stanley Rempel

“Yeah.  The retailer takes it up.  Retailers they take their cut, right?”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Yeah… Okay, there’s also a concern that since the industry is self-sufficient and essentially can provide for the demands locally, why is there a need for us to be importing rice from elsewhere?”

 

Via Phone: Stanley Rempel

“There is no need to be importing rice.  We are self-sufficient at rice, as a matter of fact we have been exporting and we were looking to export again this year.  There is no need to import rice.”

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3 Responses for “Major Rice Producer Speaks on Retail Prices”

  1. Bznbrain says:

    Why did the reporter not ask him why they were importing and distributing the Guyanese rice….

  2. Jaded says:

    Finally some truth! The cost to produce ANYTHING in this country is very high. Yet the cost of our staples is low compared to surrounding countries. Do a simple shelf price check of rice in Guyana or surrounding countries. Much higher than here.
    I am certain that this importer is NOT selling the rice on his shelves at a 10% mark-up above purchase cost. That would be $.99/lb. Hypocritical don’t you think? Nor is he selling anything else at those margins.
    There are other issues in play with this gentleman. Personally I believe some political figure is goading him into this. Shame to be so bought by his political cronies. Absolute shame.

  3. Bznbrain says:

    For your information Jaded, rice from Suriname is even cheaper than Guyana…. and also they deceived the Belizean by selling Guyanese rice as Belizean rice for the same price… and besides if they are exporting then definitely they can sell rice at the world market prices…

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