As the fourth-largest exporter of
rice, the United States faces stiff
competition from the world’s
leading rice exporters – Thailand
and Vietnam. But as any good marketer
will tell you, customers will flock to
products that offer exceptional quality, and
U.S. rice is in this category in the
Ghana is the most important commercial
market for U.S. rice sales on the African
continent. It is a milled, long-grain rice
market and one of the few countries in
Africa with no rice import limitations. U.S.
rice has a strong reputation in Ghana for
its high quality and is preferred by consumers
over Thai rice due to its cleanliness,
taste, aroma and good swelling characteristics.
However, in the past few years,
fragrant rice varieties have increasingly
gained market share and have been
favored by consumers, reducing sales of
traditional milled rice.
Promotional Activities Ramped Up
To address changing consumer preferences,
USA Rice has utilized USDA FAS
funding and rice check-off dollars to conduct
intensive promotions in the Ghanaian
market, involving FAS staff in Ghana as
well as locally available U.S. rice brands.
Promotional activities target foodservice
professionals and consumers. Locally
available brands are invited to join these promotions by including their U.S. rice
brand’s logo in the promotions, thus ensuring
that consumers can later identify U.S.
rice in the market. These companies pay
30 percent of the program costs, enabling
USA Rice’s promotional dollars to extend
further and ensure that the activities have a
direct effect on rice sales.
Another positive market expansion is
the entrance last year of the LSU
AgCenter-developed fragrant rice variety,
Jazzman. The introduction of this new
variety in Ghana was aimed at recapturing
market share lost to jasmine fragrant rice
that is imported from Thailand.
As nearly all rice consumed in Ghana is
traded in open air markets, USA Rice conducted
intense promotional activities in
major urban centers in Accra and Kumasi.
Through these venues, promoters travelled
throughout the major markets, educating
consumers about the newly available U.S.
jasmine-type rice variety and directing
them to sellers who stocked it.
The most recent promotional activity in
Kumasi resulted in the purchase of approximately
450 metric tons of U.S. jasminetype
rice in one week. Promotions such as
these will help ensure that U.S. rice
remains top-of-mind for consumers in
those markets that are becoming
Last year, the United States exported
86,093 metric tons of rice (milled rice
basis), valued at $52.4 million to Ghana,
making the country the tenth-largest export
market by volume and value. USA Rice’s
promotional activities have boosted sales
of traditional milled rice brands as well as
U.S. jasmine rice sales and have ensured
that U.S. rice importers remain loyal to
U.S.-grown rice. Continued FAS funding
can further solidify the Ghanaian consumer
base and can trickle down to positively
affect other markets in Africa.
To learn more, visit www.usarice.com.