Mar 02, 2018
ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA -- This week, USA Rice participated in a trade mission, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to meet with importers and potential customers in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney led the mission and highlighted the importance of two-way trade with Central America. Additionally, USDA spoke about the under-utilized GSM-102 program available in the region and mentioned commodities, such as rice, that are able to utilize the program. This program provides credit guarantees to encourage financing of commercial exports of U.S. agricultural products.
On the last day of the program, U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Luis Arreaga hosted the delegation at his home, also inviting Guatemala’s Minister of Agriculture Estuardo Méndez Cobar, and other Cabinet level staff.
During the week, USA Rice met with current and interested importers of rice and listened to the challenges that some companies have with gaining duty free access for U.S. rice.
“Given that Guatemala has to import over 70 percent of the rice they consume, there is a great deal of interest in American rice,” said USA Rice Vice President International Sarah Moran, who attended on behalf of USA Rice. “Guatemala has a very young population and their rice consumption levels are relatively low, so there is definite growth potential in this market.”
As a region, Central America is the U.S. rice industry’s third largest export market valued at $163,917. USA Rice conducts comprehensive marketing programs in the region that target consumers as well as the burgeoning foodservice industry. Market research studies have been conducted to analyze the trends of rice among consumers in Honduras, as well as, social media campaigns in El Salvador to raise awareness of the benefits of rice for younger populations.