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Dec 10, 2015

COLA is in Favor of Cheap Rice from Guyana

Geovanni Brackett

Ads advertising cheap rice from Guyana, imported by Xtra House, have been circulating for a couple weeks now – setting the stage for the rice which should arrive in country soon. It’s caused some concern among local producers because there is a rice surplus, and the rice which is allegedly on the way would sell for about fifty cents less per pound. The conversation has really just started because the cheap rice hasn’t hit shelves yet, but COLA is getting in on it right off the bat. Today, President Geovanni Brackett told News Five it is still an issue which requires much more investigation, but the first instinct is to condemn any move which would disallow the access to cheaper rice on the market.

 

Geovanni Brackett, President, COLA

“In a time when the economy is rough, in a time when we have been asked to bite the bullet for sugar, having to pay for expensive rice when there is an opportunity for us to buy rice at a cheaper rate, it seems unfair to the consumers not to have that choice. Let me put this into perspective. We understand that next week the first shipment of cheaper rice from Guyana will be coming in. Word to COLA is that they are preparing to confiscate that first shipment. I am not sure about all the bylaws and intricacies involved, but I know we have signed on to certain agreements which allow companies to import from CARICOM. I am a big supporter of local producers, but if my local producer is asking me to pay forty or fifty cents more for a pound of rice, I will have to reserve my right to choose where I want to purchase my rice from. That is simply where it is at right now. It is not that we have taken a position to say that we will support this producer or that producer. I think that COLA has shown that we have always been in support of local producers on a whole. But in a time when the economy is rough…I have kids around my neighbourhood that can’t even afford rice, and so it is an issue that we will be paying close attention to. We are saying that it has raised our antennas to hear that this first shipment of cheap rice will be confiscated.”

 

A source at the Ministry of Agriculture told News Five that while there is no knowledge of a shipment of rice coming in next week rice cannot enter the country without a BAHA permit. And BAHA has issued no permit for the importation of any rice from Guyana.

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2 Responses for “COLA is in Favor of Cheap Rice from Guyana”

  1. David Acosta says:

    And what happens to our local producers? I believe that it is at this time that GOB has to assist the farmers. Two ways they can do this is by offering technical advice ( for better yields at lower cost of production so our farmers can compete )and by offering low interest rate loans to our farmers. Come on GOB you cannot just sit by and allow our farmers to lose their produce just because they cannot afford to sell at a cheaper rice. Is protectionism and subsidizing far fetched at this time? You had millions upon millions of Petrocaribe money!

  2. Marie says:

    Rice is already produced in Belize, why is it so expensive? Maybe, everyone wants to get rich quick!! Government and farmers need to set a price per pound. Imagine importing rice for half the amount, I too would go for it.

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