GRDB awaits word from Jamaica over rice shipment
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─ says all rice exports rigorously tested
─ has no control over how the rice is handled
─ “Our certificate proves that the rice left here in good order”
─ all players within the industry are urged to remain vigilant as the matter is being investigated
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, February 12, 2019
The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) is currently awaiting word from Jamaica’s Industries, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry concerning the confiscation of 70 tonnes of rice.
Reports had surfaced over the weekend stating that the rice was confiscated after being inspected. Claims are that during the inspection it was revealed that the grains had signs of mould, clumping, discolouration and wetting resulting in its detention by a food storage inspector.
These claims have given rise to allegations questioning the quality of rice being shipped out of Guyana. In an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Deputy General Manager of the GRDB, Allison Peters said:
“Our certificate for testing of any rice is accredited by the Jamaican National Agency for Accreditation (JNAAC), this is the fourth year that we have been accredited by this body.”
She reassured that any rice that leaves Guyana is put through rigorous testing, both at the central lab and before being loaded for export. However, in transportation and subsequent storage of the product, the GRDB has no control over how the rice is handled.
“A product leaves Guyana; it just does not arrive in another country; there is some form of conveyance that takes it from point A to point B. Our certificate proves that the rice left here in good order.”
General Manager of the GRDB, Nizam Hassan highlighted that if the rice is damaged due to poor handling after inspection, this is usually addressed by either the insurance companies or the shipping company responsible.
“We have had experiences in other contracts with other suppliers where there have been damages done to the product because of handling on the ships and handling of the containers at the wharf… It is either dealt with by the insurance companies or by the shipping companies and so on.”
The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has since made contact with Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries in Jamaica, and is yet to receive official word on the matter. The board is calling on all players within the industry to remain vigilant as the matter is being investigated.
Images: Anil Seelall.