Market Access & Promotion

Rice is the most popular grain globally and the primary dietary staple for more than half the world’s population.  American rice farmers grow 9 million tons of rice each year, half of which is exported to more than 120 countries. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program help the rice industry open foreign markets and promote our products abroad, and have a proven track record of success in more than 30 overseas markets.  Learn more about our international market promotions below.

International Promotions

  • Canada.Flag-Map Canada
    Canada shares the world’s longest international border with the United States and is a top market for U.S. rice.  Canada does not produce any rice. It grows wild rice, which is not a true rice, but the seed of an aquatic grass. The majority of rice on store shelves that is consumed in Canada is grown in the U.S. Essentially, U.S.-grown rice is as local as it gets for Canadians.
  • central-america-northern-tier Central America: Northern Triangle
    The Northern Triangle of Central America includes Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. As a region, Central America is the U.S. rice industry’s third largest export market valued at $163.9 million. 
  • Map of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Central America: Southern Tier
    The southern tier of Central America includes Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.  Rice is an essential part of the daily diet in these countries.  The United States exported over 220,000 MT of rice in 2017 to this region of the world.
  • China-Flag-Map China
    “Have you eaten rice yet?” is a common Chinese expression used as a way to say hello.  Per capita rice consumption in China is estimated at 221 pounds per year, nearly 10 times U.S. per capita consumption and one of the highest in the world. China is the largest importer of rice, bringing in over 5 million tons annually. The U.S. rice industry has been working for over a decade to gain access to the Chinese market and while progress has been made, we are not yet to the finish line.
  • Colombia-Flag-Map Colombia
    Rice is a staple in Colombia whose 50 million people have a high domestic consumption level of more than 1.6 million tons per year.  Traditional dishes such as Bandeja Paisa (white rice, red beans, ground beef, plantain, sausage, fried pork skin, corn patty, avocado, and a fried egg) can be found on the table year-round.
  • Cuba-Flag-Map Cuba
    Cuba is a small Caribbean island 93 miles south of Key West, Florida with a population of over 11 million.  Once the number one export market for U.S. rice, exports evaporated when the U.S. imposed an embargo against Cuba.  Given their large consumption of rice at 190 lbs per capita annually, Cuba remains a large consumer of rice and will be a top market for U.S. rice once again. 
  • Haiti-Flag-Map Haiti
    Haiti is a beautiful mountainous country that makes up the Western third of the island once known as Hispaniola, sharing a border with the Dominican Republic. Haitians prefer to eat rice on a daily basis, consuming about 115 lbs annually per capita.  
  • Map of Hong Kong with flag overlay Hong Kong
    Hong Kong produces no rice yet eats nearly 100 pounds per capita annually and thus is dependent upon imports.  Hong Kong is a truly open market (like the U.S.!) with no quantitative or qualitative restrictions and no tariffs on imported rice.    
  • Map of Japan with flag overlay Japan
    Japan is the United States’ second largest milled rice export market in terms of volume and first in terms of value.  Many rice farmers in California grow varieties such as Koshihikari, Akitakomachi or sweet rice specifically for the Japanese market though the majority of imports are Calrose.  Japan has recently subsidized super premium quality rice and rice for feed use for domestic Japanese farmers, resulting in an insufficient supply of reasonably priced rice favored by the foodservice industry.  This provides a large opportunity for imported rice, such as U.S. rice.
  • Jordan Flag Map Jordan
    Jordan is the largest single Arab market for U.S. medium grain rice exports and continues to be a growth market.  Jordan is one of the four driest countries in the world, making the country heavily reliant on food imports including rice. Rice is a staple and the average yearly consumption is estimated at 53 lbs. per capita, yet the country produces no rice.  The most popular national dish, mansaff, uses U.S. medium grain rice.
  • Mexico flag map Mexico
    Mexico is the largest export market for U.S. rice and has been for years.  In 1994 they entered into the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and the United States.  Since then Mexico’s economy has grown exponentially.  The country currently manages a $2.4 trillion economy, which is 11th largest in the world. Mexico’s population of nearly 125 million people is a critical component of U.S. trade.
  • Map of the Middle East Middle East
    Rice is a basic staple in many Middle Eastern countries even though most of the countries do not produce rice; those that do are only able to supply a small portion of demand. Iraq, Iran, and the Arabian peninsula primarily consume long grain rice (both white rice and parboiled), while Jordan, Syria, Israel and West Bank, and Lebanon consume mostly medium grain rice.
  • Peru-Flag-Map Peru
    Peru is a beautiful Andean country of 31 million inhabitants. It is home to the Inca Trail which leads to Machu Picchu and robust Peruvian cuisines such as Tacu Tacu (pan-fried rice and beans flat cake). 
  • Saudi-Arabia-Flag-Map Saudi Arabia
    Rice is the main dish in Saudi Arabia and is usually served twice daily.  Saudi Arabia is the Middle East’s second largest importer of long grain rice; they do not produce rice and thus depend entirely on imports.  Rice is imported freely by private companies, with zero import duty and no import subsidies.
  • South-Korea-Flag-Map South Korea
    South Korea is a country of 51 million and is the second largest market for U.S. rice in Asia. Per capita consumption is estimated at 136 pounds per year but is declining.  South Korea imported 152,000 MT of U.S. rice in 2017.
  • Taiwan-Flag-Map Taiwan
    Taiwan has a population of 23.5 million and per capita rice consumption is estimated at 97.9 pounds per year. The U.S. is the largest rice supplier to Taiwan, accounting for about half of their imports.  Taiwan has in recent years imported U.S. Calrose, Southern medium grain, long grain and glutinous rice from the U.S.  
  • Turkey-Flag-Map Turkey

    Turkey grows rice; however, it is not enough to satisfy domestic demand which has been increasing over the past several years.  Recently, there has been a good deal of uncertainty in the market due to the tense political and economic situation which has led to the rapid depreciation of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies and an increase in interest rates.  

     

  • UK Flag Map United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom is the single largest market for U.S. rice sales in the European Union, mostly importing U.S. long grain rice, as well as some medium grain rice for sushi. In 2017, the UK imported 678,000 MT of rice, with India being the largest single supplier, mostly Basmati rice. The USA is the eighth largest exporter with a 4 percent market share.

Recent News

White woman wearing business suit stands with two casually dressed black men in street market stall
USA Rice's Eszter Somogyi (right) conducts market research
Jun 07, 2019
ACCRA, GHANA – USA Rice traveled here last week to gather information on the potential for increased U.S. rice sales to this West African country.  Ghana is one of the most stable countries in the African region, with increasing GDP and a secure political environment, however, the cedi (local currency) is prone to inflation and exchange rate fluctuations, which makes import of products challenging.  Additionally, due to relatively low disposable income, consumers here are extremely price sensitive, having to make day to day choices on food consumption and other expenses.

Ghana was a major importer of U.S. grown rice until 2013.  The majority of U.S. exports were milled long grain rice, as well as some U.S. jasmine rice.  However, in 2013 increased prices from the U.S. coupled with more favorable prices from Thailand and Viet Nam shifted the market towards fragrant jasmine rice, and U.S. rice sales dropped from 103,300 MT in 2013 to 20,700 MT in 2014.

In the decade between 2004-2014 USA Rice worked with major local importers coordinating multi-platform advertising and other activities targeting the foodservice sector but after 2014, the U.S. was effectively priced out of the market and shipped only 5,400 MT in 2018.  

“USA Rice used funds under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Trade Promotion program (ATP) for CY 2019 to re-evaluate the market situation in Ghana and determine the feasibility of developing promotional plans to build strong brand equity for U.S. origin rice based on high quality,” said Eszter Somogyi, USA Rice director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

Total yearly consumption is estimated at around 1 million MT and is increasing annually due to population growth and the changing lifestyle of the locals moving consumption away from traditional foods like yams to convenient and healthy staples like rice.  Local production is estimated at 470,000 MT.  According to trade sources, total rice imports in 2018 were 510,000 MT: 60-65 percent was jasmine mostly from Viet Nam and Thailand, the rest of the market was mostly long grain milled rice from India, Thailand, and the United States.

“Although they have developed a preference for fragrant varieties, recognition of U.S. rice brands is still high among consumers,” said Somogyi.  “The market is very price sensitive and there is strong price competition from Asian origins, but we aim to target segments, such as foodservice professionals, that appreciate the quality characteristics of U.S. rice.”

The government of Ghana recently announced a 50 percent reduction in import benchmark prices for many imported food items, including all types and origins of rice.  This effort to increase traffic in Ghana’s sea ports is another factor that is expected to result in increased rice imports to the country.
For more information on USDA's export marketing programs, visit USDA's website and USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) website