Venezuela paddy further delayed over ship
By Stabroek staff December 21, 2009 in Local News
Venezuela is to now receive the first shipment of paddy, under a US18.8M deal, after Christmas.
The delay in shipment, Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud said on Friday, occurred because the contracted vessel was not available. He stressed that the delay in shipment was not due to unavailability of paddy.
On December 6 Persaud had informed Stabroek News that the first shipment of paddy was expected to leave for Venezuela last weekend. The first shipment should have been dispatched to the neighbouring state since the first week of November. Some 4,000 tonnes of paddy, Persaud had said, is expected on the first shipment.
Exports were originally expected to be completed by the first week of February.
The contracted vessel, Pacific Clipper, arrived in Guyana with a cargo of cement at the scheduled time. However, it could not be accommodated at the Guyana National Shipping Company (GNSC) wharf to offload because another sizeable vessel was present. LOGOS 2, a ship which was here for several days selling books, meant that the Pacific Clipper could not approach the wharf.
Pacific Clipper was forced to await the departure of LOGOS 2. With the departure of LOGOS 2 on Tuesday, Persaud said, Pacific Clipper was able to approach the GNSC wharf and offload its cargo. Pacific Clipper, Persaud said, should’ve completed discharging its cargo on Saturday and the vessel was to be sanitized for the paddy shipment yesterday.
Most of the paddy to be shipped, the minister said, is at the John Fernandes Wharf. Loading of the consignment should take three days. The consignment is expected to arrive in the neighbouring state on December 27.
The delay, according to Persaud, did not come without benefits. Our Venezuelan partners will also benefit from it since they will also be given more time “to ensure that all the systems are in place”
On October 21 Guyana and Venezuela inked the US$18.8M ($3.7B) rice purchase agreement which should see 50,000 tonnes of paddy and rice being supplied to that country in the next few months at a price higher than current export prices. The Agriculture Ministry had disclosed that initially 10,000 tonnes of white rice and 40,000 tonnes of paddy will be exported. The export price for paddy, he had said, will be US$330 per metric tonne (covering cost and freight) while for the “five percent broken” white rice, the cost will be US$560 per tonne.
The Agriculture Minister’s assurance that the shipment was not delayed because of unavailability of paddy comes after concerns had been raised about Guyana’s ability to supply Venezuela.
General Manager of the GRDB Jagnarine Singh had told Stabroek News that even with the increase in rice production this season the “full cooperation” of millers is needed to meet the US$18.8M Venezuelan deal. At the time, questions about whether Guyana would be able to meet its end of the deal and the effect such a large demand would have on commitments to other markets were just surfacing.
Singh had told Stabroek News, shortly after the agreement was signed, that supplying Venezuela is a very difficult task. He’d said that before the deal was inked with Venezuela the GRDB contacted millers who then pledged to produce various amounts to be exported to that country.
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