From left: Ernesto Baron (USA Rice), Jacobo Paz Bodden (Minister of Agriculture - Honduras), Sady Andonie and Jose Velez (INDECASA-- largest rice mill in Honduras)
ROATAN, HONDURAS--The Central American Rice Federation (FECARROZ) invited USA Rice here earlier this month to present at their board of directors meeting. USA Rice provided an update on the current U.S. crop and also discussed USA Rice's proposal to develop a FECARROZ standard in order to minimize variability in the quality of rice that is exported. Several variety developments from both the public and private sectors were discussed during the presentation; these varieties specifically address the requests and needs of the Central American consumer. The progress in varietal development was well received as several attendees still had concerns about chalk and amylose content in U.S. rice.
"These types of meetings go a long way in strengthening rice industry relations between our countries," says Ernesto Baron, USA Rice's representative for the region. "We continue to look for opportunities for USA Rice and its members to engage with our international consumers."
During the meeting, a new FECARROZ Director was elected for a two-year term. Michel Hawit, president of Baprosa (rice mill) in Honduras, replaced outgoing Director Mario Solórzano, a rice miller from Guatemala.
"I would like to thank Mario Solórzano for an excellent job leading this organization and congratulate Michel Hawit on his election as the new president of FECARROZ. We are looking forward to our two organizations continuing to work together," said Betsy Ward, president and CEO of USA Rice.
USA Rice also spoke about our region's promotional activities aimed at increasing U.S. rice consumption. Currently, USA Rice conducts promotional activities in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Activities are primarily aimed at the retail level and encouraging rice usage amongst consumers. FECARROZ expressed interest in working together on several marketing campaigns, to increase the usage of rice in the region.
Central America, as a region, is our third largest export market this year at over 260,000 MT through June.