The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) said it recorded a 20 per cent increase in revenue after exporting more than half a million tonnes of paddy, rice and rice by-products last year.
In a statement, the GRDB said that revenue from exports totalled US$222.7 million when compared to the US$186 million the previous year.
It said the country exported 526,617 tonnes of paddy, rice and rice by-products last year as compared to 470,312 tonnes in 2018, an increase of 12 per cent.
Venezuela was the country’s main export market, accounting for 177,682 tonnes, or 34 per cent of all rice exports. The sale to Venezuela augurs well for Guyana, especially after the country had lost a major market in Venezuela when the PetroCaribe deal between the two countries ended.
Under the PetroCaribe initiative, the payment system allowed for Guyana to buy oil on market value with only a portion paid for upfront and the remainder to be paid through a 25-year financing agreement on one per cent interest.
The figures by the GRDB showed that after Venezuela, Portugal was the country’s major rice importer with a total of 61,873 tonnes of rice being exported, a 12 per cent of the total amount of rice exported.
The GRDB said that an estimated 69,956 tonnes of rice, valued at US$35 million, had been exported to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries last year with Jamaica and Trinidad being the largest importers accounting for 32,743 tonnes and 25,417 tonnes, respectively.
Guyana exported rice to 10 CARICOM countries, namely; Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Suriname.
Guyana said it had also exported rice to the European Union with the 214,190 tonnes exported last year being higher than the 146,092 tonnes shipped in 2018.