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Dec 15, 2015

G.O.B. Announced Decrease in Price of Grade C Rice

While consumers and industry stakeholders anxiously await the outcome of an ongoing scenario involving the proposed importation of Guyanese rice, the Government of Belize earlier today announced a decrease in the cost per pound of Grade C rice.  Loose rice, as it is otherwise known, is seventy percent whole grain and thirty percent broken, in conformity with Belize’s Standard for Rice Specification.  The release from the Belize Bureau of Standards coincides with the back and forth between importer Jack Charles and the Belize Agro-productive Sector Group.  Grade C rice will now retail at a maximum wholesale and retail price of eighty and ninety cents per pound across the country.  Despite the reduction, loose rice is being described as inferior quality grain.  Former C.E.O. in the Ministry of Agriculture, Sergio Garcia, told the media today that notwithstanding the decrease in local prices, RC Imports would still be able to bring in Grade One rice from Guyana and retail it for less.

 

Sergio Garcia, Former C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture

“A press release was issued just yesterday or Friday, I don’t know, referring to the thirty percent broken.  That I will tell you in a nutshell, a thirty percent broken rice, if you import it from any country…”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Which is Grade C?”

 

Sergio Garcia

“It’s Grade C yes.  Maybe they mean Grade Chicken, you know.  I mean it would more be fit for animal feed.  Yes.  I mean why should we, if we are saying that we are one of the premier countries producing rice, why should we offer Grade C?  We shouldn’t, I mean it doesn’t make any sense.  Because even the consumer will not be happy because he will be getting rice lab when he cooks that, it’s purely broken. I am telling you that this premium grade rice that we are bringing from Guyana will be sold at a maximum of sixty-nine cents and I am speaking about ten to fifteen percent broken, no more.  Because what we went, when we negotiated with the Guyanese we ensured that we asked for a higher standard than the CARICOM standard, okay, and the price remains the same.  So it is incumbent that the public understands that they can buy rice at sixty-nine cents, Grade One.  Why should you be asked to pay eighty cents for a Grade C rice?”

 

Isani Cayetano

“The question however is longevity and sustainability though.  Is this viable over a long-term period?”

 

Sergio Garcia

“I would say generally, yes.”

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