As Guyana helps Trinidad revive rice industry, honey issue closer to resolution – Mustapha

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Guyana is providing much-needed assistance to Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) as it revives its rice industry and while this new cooperation unfolds, Guyana’s Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said the two countries are inching closer to a resolution on the long-standing honey export challenge.

Mustapha told reporters at the sidelines of an event on Friday last that Trinidad has been able to restart the cultivation of rice with assistance from Guyana.

Guyana provided seed paddies and technical personnel to help the Twin Island Republic.

Mustapha does not believe that rice production in Trinidad will offset any exports from Guyana. In fact, he said there is a much larger market for rice globally with India exporting less of the grains.

Guyana’s support for the country’s rice production is just one part of a wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM) goal of increasing food production in countries to slash an enormous food import bill.

Increasing the trade of food within the region is also a key component of the ambitious food plan that is led by Guyana.

And Mustapha said that as Guyana supports Trinidad’s rice production goals, the two countries continue to hammer out prevailing issues that constrain the export of honey.

“We are coming closer to an agreement,” Mustapha said.

Rice on display at the Agri-investment forum and expo in Trinidad and Tobago (Photo: August 2022)

He added that the two countries have technical personnel dissecting the issues and the matter is before CARICOM’s ministerial taskforce on food security.

Trinidad’s 1935 Beekeeping and Bee Products Act, which blocks the transshipment of honey originating outside the Windward and Leeward Islands. Guyana and Grenada have long advocated for an end to these restrictions, arguing that it violates the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

That Treaty is CARICOM’s central treaty.

Mustapha added that other trade barriers that exist with Trinidad and other countries are being removed as those countries are interested in more produce from Guyana.

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