Gov’t expanding rice, paddy export capability – Minister Mustapha

– sees Demerara Sugar Terminal as another location

Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture is seeking to expand operations at the Demerara Sugar Terminal at Ramp Road, Ruimveldt, to facilitate the loading and exporting of paddy and rice.

On Wednesday, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, M.P, along with members of the Guyana Rice Exporters and Millers Association and the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) examined the factory.

Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, M.P, along with members of the Guyana Rice Exporters and Millers Association and GRDB during a tour of the Demerara Sugar Terminal at Ramp Road, Ruimveldt, on Wednesday

“After a meeting with His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, I was instructed to come here with the GRDB to look at this facility so that they could also have access to use it to export their produce, especially paddy and cargo rice,” Minister Mustapha explained.

He said the intervention is another strategy implemented by the PPP/C Administration to reduce expense in the rice sector. It will also ease the time spent during the exportation process.

The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), GRDB and members of the millers’ association will form a small committee to conduct a needs assessment. The decision body will engage the minister with a detailed plan, by next week.

Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, M.P, along with members of the Guyana Rice Exporters and Millers Association and GRDB during a tour of the Demerara Sugar Terminal at Ramp Road, Ruimveldt, on Wednesday

“What needs to be done is the fixing of some conveyer belt and fixing of some parts on the wharf and after that I think they will have access to use it.

This would end the cumbersome system that they have presently, where they use these ton baggage or big baggage to put their paddy in, and they go back to the ship to off load. Here, when they come, they will just load it into the bin and from there it will straight on to the ship holler,” the minister explained.

Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, M.P, along with members of the Guyana Rice Exporters and Millers Association and GRDB during a tour of the Demerara Sugar Terminal at Ramp Road, Ruimveldt, on Wednesday

He iterated the government’s plans to increase the yields of rice this year, as it moves to expand the rice industry.

Meanwhile, rice miller Ragindra Persaud said government’s move is an excellent one. He noted that rice farmers and millers across East Berbice-Corentyne will welcome the initiative.

“We didn’t realise there was such a mechanised facility because it could really reduce cost from the mill stand pointed because it is fully automated. I think the move is very important. we will like to thank the minister for the intervention,” the chairman noted.

Rice miller, Ragindra Persaud

Another rice miller, Nazeemul Hakh told DPI that he is pleased with the new upgrades in the rice sector.  “It’s something good for the rice, it can save us probable close to US $6 to $7 per ton. It will also help us in Essequibo because you can discharge rice from the coastal,” he said.

Increasing the rice export market is a priority of the PPP/C Administration this year.  Last year, the country welcomed the British Virgin Islands (BVI), and European nations of Estonia and Slovenia as its newest rice export destinations.