GEORGETOWN – Nand Persaud and Company Limited, producers of Karibee rice brand, is planning to build a rice milling plant in Cuba free zone.
The company recently managed to snag a major rice contract with that Spanish-speaking country. The first shipment is to leave shortly.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the shipment would be the first rice one in 40 years from Guyana to Cuba.
A visiting delegation from ALIMPORT, the Cuban Import Agency for rice, arrived yesterday to finalize the shipment of rice with Nand Persaud.
The Foreign Ministry disclosed that Maria Cristina Ramos Perdomo and Reynaldo Aguirre Labora are included in the delegation which will stay for a week.
The deal is significant as Guyana has been struggling to find new rice markets following the loss of Venezuela in 2015. Over 100,000 tonnes of rice and paddy were being shipped to that neighbouring country in a deal that started in the late 2000s by former President Hugh Chavez. Guyana received oil in exchange.
According to the ministry, yesterday, the rice deal was inked just under two months ago between Nand Persaud and that Cuban company.
Guyana’s Ambassador to the Republic of Cuba, Halim Majeed, has described the visit as a means to further strengthen the country’s economic relations with Cuba.
According to Ambassador Majeed, under the terms of the contract, Nand Persaud Limited is expected to ship 15,000 metric tonnes of rice to Cuba this month and in October.
Based on the agreement between the two companies, Nand Persaud will also continue to supply rice to Cuba in 2018.
During this time, the Berbice rice miller, which has made significant inroads in the region and North America with its packaged Karibee rice brand, will be finalizing plans to prepare a draft Investment Proposal to set up a rice-milling plant and warehouse in the Port Mariel Free Zone, Cuba.
Guyana has been enjoying a close relationship with Cuba since the 1970s and early 1980s. The two countries officially established diplomatic ties in 1972 with Cuba agreeing to provide medical supplies, doctors, and medical training to Guyana, an initiative that still exists.
Since then, a significant number of persons have received scholarships to study there.
In recent year or so, Cubans has been coming here under a visa-free arrangement to shop.
Nand Persaud is a major employer in East Berbice and one of the biggest buyers of paddy from farmers.
Its tentacles have now stretched to packaging and call centres.
Recently, the company made a pitch to take over Skeldon and produce sugar, with the aim to boost a branded packaged product.