‘¿Quien tiene arroz?’

Dwight Roberts President/CEO USRPA

Dwight Roberts President/CEO USRPA

RMTC in Houston offers opportunities to network with international buyers, vendors and other participants.
Mark your calendar — the Rice Market & Technology Convention is coming to Houston, May 31–June 2. Judging from early comments from participants and confirmed exhibitors, the 2016 edition will be another great opportunity to meet the rice buyers, sellers, shippers, grower leadership, seed technology, research, government officials, market analysts and other allied industries.

Several new additions will make for a great atmosphere of learning and doing business. The RMTC was created several years ago by the U.S. Rice Producers Association in an effort to enhance the marketing of U.S. rice.

Location, location, location
Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 7.46.04 PMHouston is a great location for the convention because of direct flights from every country. Sorry Miami, you’re not the only one. But what makes Houston attractive is the proximity to rice farms, mills, private research, university research and an assortment of equipment companies located in the region. Many participants plan to travel throughout the U.S. rice sector after the conference, so this is a great opportunity to promote U.S. rice.

Held at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Houston’s famous Galleria area, the convention will be opened by Dr. Robert S. Zeigler, director general and CEO of the International Rice

Research Institute in the Philippines.
Also known as IRRI, it is the largest rice research operation in the world. Respected worldwide as a plant pathologist with more than 30 years experience in agricultural research, Zeigler earned degrees from Cornell University, Oregon State University and the University of Illinois. This, in addition to completing management and governance programs from Harvard Business School and Kellogg School of Management.

Meet foreign rice buyers
This conference is an excellent opportunity for U.S. rice producers to meet the foreign buyers of their crop. Every country is a different market, a different story. And in today’s market, it’s important to understand the issues that effect U.S. rice exports and can have an effecrt on quality.

Take the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement, for example. It has been in effect since 2009, yet less than 10 percent of the duty-free quota is used, and rice from other origins are sold to Peru at a much higher price than U.S. values.

In Colombia, the FTA quota is filled and buyers even purchase rice outside of the quota while paying an 80 percent duty. Plan to attend the RMTC to find out why this is occurring.

‘¿Quien tiene arroz?’
Some 22 private companies from seven countries have already confirmed exhibit
space in Houston. Several will be making presentations on new technology and developments for rice producers, mills and research programs ­— all designed to improve profits.

IMECO (Italy); Indumak (Brazil); Zaccaria (Brazil); Stockton Israel Ltd. (Israel); Satake USA (USA); Buhler Inc. (USA); Lambton Conveyor Ltd. (Canada); Hlavinka Equipment Co. (USA); and SCAFCO Grain Systems (USA) are just a few already on the list.

Last year’s two-day milling school conducted by Super Brix and Applied Milling Systems was so popular it has been scheduled again this year. And new this year will be a two-day postharvest seminar organized by Mega Dryers. These are two activities we know will be beneficial to participants and will be held May 30-31.

The conference is conducted in three languages — English, Spanish and Portuguese — simultaneously, but that doesn’t mean you can’t practice your speaking ability. Networking during breaks, at exhibit stands, at receptions, and during lunches and happy hours are as important as the speaking sessions themselves. So make your plans, mark your calendar.