For the past several years it has
been an important opportunity for
the US Rice Producers Association
(USRPA) to host the Federacion
Centro Americana del Arroz
(FECARROZ) for their end-of-the-year
Never has the meeting taken on so much
importance as this December 2011 meeting
because of the difficulties and challenges
due to grain quality issues caused by
extreme temperatures, panicle blight and
other heat-related stress. The effects of
both 2010 and 2011 have made it hard for
U.S. farmers and millers, as well as the
Central American mills who buy paddy
rice from the Delta area.
Central American Market
In the 10 years since the founding of
FECARROZ and the establishment of the
CAFTA agreement, there is no doubt the
grain quality problems experienced by U.S.
farmers have created the biggest challenges
that we have ever had to overcome in this
key market for our long-grain rice.
While Mexico is our No. 1 market and now hovers around 800,000 tons per year,
the Central American market as a group
(Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) has
played a vital role for U.S. exports.
Where would the U.S. farming industry
be without these rough rice markets?
While 2007 was the largest yearly volume
in recent history, 2008 was a special
year that saw values much higher, though
100,000 tons less volume. Since 2006, the
United States has averaged 620,000 tons of
exports to Central America.
The year 2010 saw that figure drop to
577,000 tons as grain quality issues came
into play and some areas of Central
America produced a larger domestic crop.
Fast forward to 2011 that saw a record (17
metric tons paddy basis) South American
crop with no quality problems and
overnight Mercosur became a seller of rice
to Nicaragua, Haiti, Costa Rica, Venezuela
and other regional markets treasured by
Consolidating Commercial Relationships
The FECARROZ board meeting gave
the US Rice Producers Association the
opportunity to address the concerns and
enlist the involvement of GIPSA, RiceTec,
USA Rice Federation, Horizon Ag, Coastal
Rice Futures, market advisors, exporters
and U.S. rice farmers.
As stated in a thank-you letter to the
USRPA from FECARROZ President
Fernando Chamorro, “We are sure that our
meeting will serve to consolidate our commercial
relationships, converting into sustainable
The US Rice Producers Association is
committed to the demands of a strong
working relationship with the Central
American markets and look forward to the
next joint meeting of the two groups in
For more, visit www.usriceproducers.com.