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Water Management
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USRPA update

Producer organization continues to focus on viable export markets.

By Dwight Roberts
President and Chief Executive
Officer, USRPA

The old saying, "There are no two years alike," rarely fails to be true, and 2013 is certainly shaping up to be another unique version. Record cold spring weather, frozen Farm Bill progress and China: What next? With one in five of the world's population, China was the second largest rice importer in the world for 2012 (2.3 million tons) and will import 2.5 million tons in 2013. As the economy grows and the population is more urbanized, the people are insisting on high-quality, safe food.

These developments coincide with the market research conducted in China by USRPA and FAS. Coordinated efforts with USDA, APHIS and Chinese officials indicate the two governments are in the final stages for producing a phytosanitary protocol that will allow the export of highquality U.S. rice to the supermarket shelves of the Chinese consumer. While patience with the bureaucratic process is not easy for rice farmers, we continue to monitor this key issue on a daily basis.

Mexico And Central America

USRPA's working relationship with the Central American Rice Federation (FECARROZ) and the Mexican Rice Council has played an instrumental role in the development of the largest market for U.S. long-grain rice. A regular and effective exchange program with the Central Americans, prior to and during the CAFTA negotiations and the recent quality debate, has greatly contributed to the maintenance of these markets.

As Carlos Gonzalez Argüello, President of FECARROZ stated, "We sincerely appreciate that the USRPA understands our serious concerns and that a seller must sell his customers what they want to buy."

Buyers are learning about U.S. varieties and the importance of identity preserve, and exporters are calling for less mixing of varieties, resulting in a win-win situation for U.S. rice. The USRPA's research in Mexico in 1998-99 continues to serve the U.S. rice industry in consumer promotions to all levels of Mexico's consumers.

Meeting In Miami

The Rice Market & Technology Convention scheduled for May 28-30 in Miami is somewhat of a celebration of the USRPA's objective and focus towards the Latin American market. All roads lead to Miami, and this year's edition is shaping up to be a record breaker. Nowhere can you learn more about the rice trade in our hemisphere than this conference and, more importantly, meet all the buyers of U.S. rice in one place.

Several countries will be having meetings in conjunction, including a FECARROZ board meeting, Colombia's rice millers and others. Mexico's largest volume buyers of U.S. rice will be attending and meeting with USRPA to address specific issues and their promotion efforts. Go to www.ricemtconvention.com.

Eyes On African Market, Too

In West Africa, rice imports increased more than 40 percent last year, while the consumption rate continues to climb six to seven percent. USRPA's efforts to introduce U.S. rice into Morocco resulted in the sale of $9 million in exports in a market that was practically non-existent.

Along with Libya, Mauritania and Algeria, U.S. rice exports are making headway. USRPA advisor George Pope will address the emerging African market in a presentation at the Rice Market & Technology Convention. See you in Miami!

For more, visit www.usriceproducers.com.

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