Relief on the way for Guyana rice farmers

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday October 31, 2011 – Around 32 farmers who are collectively owed close to GYD$29 million (US$144,350) by the Mahaicony Rice Mill and its agents would be able to access financing from next week.

That assurance has been given by Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, following a weekend meeting with farmers.

He said the farmers intend to authorise the Rice Producers’ Association (RPA) to pursue Arnold Sankar from the Mahaicony Rice Mill to recoup the money, which will be used to reimburse the association as well as recover the balance owed to them.

According to Minister Persaud, two assets that were pledged by Mahaicony Rice Mill to a financial institution have now moved to the court, due to failure to service that debt.   

“We await the court’s deliberations and I do hope that it deals with this matter with some level of expediency in this regard,” he stated.

The agriculture minister explained that the Ministry, through the RPA and the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), has been engaging the farmers over the last seven to eight months with the hope that the rice mill would have cleared its debt.

“From the financial institution and GRDB standpoint, we have exhausted all the legal options in this regard and we are also looking at ways through which we can assist affected farmers…the Mahaicony Rice Mill has made itself unfit to do business with and is harmful to the rice trade in this country,” he stated.

The Mahaicony Rice Mill has been denied a license to purchase or export rice, and a court injunction bars it from leaving the country. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)