Venezuela rice shipments to resume – shipping schedule problem

Venezuela rice shipments to resume 

Noel Holder meets Rice millersJULY 14, 2015 | BY | FILED UNDER NEWS

Photo: Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder meeting with members of the Guyana Rice Millers and Exporters Marketing Association

Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, has come out to clear the air on the Guyana/Venezuela rice agreement imbroglio, revealing that a rice and paddy deal was actually not in jeopardy of being halted as was reported over the weekend.

Rather, it was all due to a misunderstanding between the wharf receiving the ships in Venezuela and the Guyana Rice Development Board.  

The Minister, during a meeting yesterday with the Guyana Millers and Exporters Marketing Association yesterday, explained that while there was no question of Venezuela putting a halt on rice shipments before November, when the annual contracts end, there was a responsibility on Guyana to slow up its shipments, in keeping with the agreed schedule.

The delegation, which was headed by Chairman of the Guyana Millers and Exporters Marketing Association, Dr. Peter De Groot, sought an update from the Minister, as to whether the Guyana/Venezuela rice deal was in jeopardy.

According to the Minister, in a bid to ensure that rice shipments on the wharf were cleared as fast as possible to make room for more shipments, rice was actually being exported in excess of the agreed schedule, overwhelming Venezuelan rice authorities.
“On Friday, the logistics Officer of the GRDB got a call from someone who receives rice (shipments) on the wharf in Venezuela, stating that Guyana must stop shipping any rice to Venezuela,” Holder explained in an interview with this publication.

According to the Minister, initial attempts to seek clarification from the Venezuelan Ambassador were futile. The Minister then got hold of Guyana’s Ambassador in Venezuela, Geoff da Silva. Da Silva made it clear he was not told of the suspension of the rice shipments.

“Apparently, our rice farmers were trying to hustle up to get their stuff off the wharf, in time for the next shipment. So they were virtually in breach of the agreement,” the Minister said.

This, the Minister said, accounted for the Venezuelans indicating that shipments already on the high seas could go through, but no other rice shipments should proceed until they were otherwise advised.
In a nutshell, the Minister related that Venezuela had indicated its unwillingness to continue the shipments in the current way it was done.

The total quantity under the existing contract will be accepted until the contract comes to an end in November, the Minister said.
There are some 270 containers of rice awaiting shipment on the John Fernandes wharf and this update will no doubt act as a reprieve for millers, who still have until November before the oil-for-rice agreement comes to an end.

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, had said last Wednesday that Venezuela claimed it had hinted to the past administration as well as to top officials in the Guyana Rice and Development Board that Guyana needs to start looking at other markets.
Based on records over the past two to three years, Jordan had said that it would show that Venezuela was scaling back on the volume of rice it was taking from Guyana.

A high level team, inclusive of representatives from the Guyana Millers and Exporters Marketing Association is expected to visit the Spanish-speaking country shortly, to discuss the way forward for the supply of commodities, not necessarily rice.
“Venezuela has assured us that rice shipments from Guyana have not been stopped. However, the rate of supply has to be adjusted in keeping with the agreed schedule,” Minister Holder said.
The meeting was also attended by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. George Jervis.

This also comes against the backdrop of Venezuela claiming sovereignty over Guyana’s waters since the significant oil find by American oil giant, Exxon Mobil just 100 miles off of the Stabroek Block.
The issue is one which has seen the government displaying complete resistance to Venezuela’s declaration and even its rhetoric over the past few weeks.

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  • de castro  On 07/14/2015 at 5:14 am

    Many a war is started by “misunderstandings” “misinformation” …..suggest local rabble media verify their articles before publishing……editors responsibility/decision.

    Am now sceptical on my comments Knews in future expecting an apology for this serious breach of protocol.My comments are “free” voluntarily given hopefully benefiting the Guyanese readers of guyaneseonline.
    In disappointment.
    Sir kamtan

  • Deen  On 07/14/2015 at 8:38 am

    You are correct Sir Kamtan. The media have a responsibility to report the news RESPONSIBLY! Sometimes in addition to misinformation and poor investigation, there is a general tendency to hype the news and rush to publication. With the conflict between Venezuela and Guyana, there are a lot of sensitivities among the people of both countries, especially among those at local levels of authority.
    The newspapers and the TV have to get it right before add fuel to fire. Don’t hype, embellish or provide misinformation.

  • de castro  On 07/14/2015 at 12:28 pm

    MADuro s reign is in question so he seeks “smokescreen” to distract his people
    from the shortages of basic necessities and diminished oil revenues.
    His foreign exchange is almost exhausted and inflation rampant.
    He is in serious “melt down” economically and politically.
    Will Putin send missiles to Venezuela ? Doubt it as the mighty USA

    A drowning man will clutch at a straw.
    My heart goes out to the poor Venezuelans who are suffering in the barrios from serious food shortages. Chavez must be turning in his coffin.

    Why politicians choose to make same mistakes yet expect different results
    only answer “power” ! Crazy.
    Elections soon if not a revolution before.

    Que sera

  • Gigi  On 07/15/2015 at 11:41 am

    So, at the prodding of the Uncle Sam, Uncle Tom went and mouthed off to the Venezuelans who suspended rice imports. Now the big man over at the embassy is saying he can facilitate Guyana’s rice export to America by linking it up to businesses there because the American gov’t does not engage in direct trade. Does this apply only to Guyana? Because the American gov’t sure as hell buys surplus food production from American companies and dump it on African countries (under the guise of USAID) in exchange for these countries facilitating the export of their minerals and valuable food (arabica coffee) to America. So why can’t the US govt aid Guyana by buying its rice under the guise of USAID? Especially since it is the one pitting Guyana against Venezuela in the same way it continues to pit ethnic strife in Guyana.

    Besides, isn’t NAFTA a creation of the govt thus allowing said govt to initiate and engage in trade via its embassy, NGO, NFP, etc? Instead, we see they are more interested in “fighting” the so-called “drug war.” Oh well, that IS a lucrative business for a country whose financial and military institutions are dependent on the drug war to survive. Not to mention a population addicted to drugs to survive the reality of the “American dream.”

  • de castro  On 07/15/2015 at 12:23 pm

    Love it….the expose.
    Hypocrisy is endemic in our political class.
    Devil you do devil you don’t.

    Tate and Lyle markets “DEMERARA” sugar from Guyana.
    Who markets rice from Guyana.?

    Both rice and sugar are commodities traded in world markets.
    Surely it’s not rocket science with technology available for Guyanese
    to trade in these markets via second/third parties.

    Nice read Gigi ….certainly my number one today.

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