BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – USA Rice’s South and Central America representative, Ernesto Baron, met with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary for Trade & Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney during his visit to Colombia last week. McKinney’s trip to Colombia marks one of the undersecretary’s first visits to a trading partner since being appointed to the newly created role in October.
In remarks made during a trade reception where U.S.-grown rice appetizers were served at the U.S. ambassador’s residence here, McKinney said he expects Colombia will become an important U.S. trading partner.
Baron also accompanied McKinney and a delegation of other USDA cooperators and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) personnel to Pricesmart, a regional wholesale club store.
"During the luncheon at PriceSmart, the Undersecretary and I discussed the operation of COLRICE, and the opportunities this quota allocating system has created for USA Rice researchers and for the Colombia rice industry," said Baron. "Colombia is an important market for the United States and for rice, and it's really heartening that Undersecretary McKinney took the time to visit."
With an average auction price of $223.66/MT, the rents generated from COLRICE have brought in over $60 million to U.S. rice state research institutions since 2012. These funds have helped support breeding research and infrastructure developments to enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. rice industry.