USA Rice Efforts Result in Congressional Action on Rice Food Aid

Feb 05, 2016
Click here to hear Senator Boozman
talk about where U.S. rice fits into the crisis.
Senator John Boozman
WASHINGTON, DC -- As reported in the USA Rice Daily January 8, 2016, Congress has made available an additional $250 million to assist with the Syrian refugee crisis.  USA Rice immediately began working with allies in Congress to make the case for why U.S.-grown rice should be a part of the solution for this devastating humanitarian crisis.

USA Rice Vice President for Government Affairs Ben Mosely said, “We wanted to explore new options to prioritize U.S.-grown rice for these commodity purchases, so we had several conversations with the offices of Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR) and many other rice state legislators about the strong rice crop last year and ample supplies that could provide much needed nutrition to Syrian refugees.”  

Senator Boozman and Representative Crawford agreed that something needed to be done now and jointly wrote a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, and the United States Agency for International Development Administrator, Gayle Smith.  Eighteen Senators and Representatives signed onto this bipartisan letter which states:  “It is no secret that rice is the most consumed commodity in the world and is an excellent staple food in addressing hidden hunger…We ask that during the procurement process for the in-kind commodities used in the emergency response efforts in the Middle East that U.S.-grown rice, including fortified rice, be prioritized for delivery to those in need.”

“The U.S. rice industry is able and prepared to provide rice that is needed in food assistance deliveries, including long grain which is preferred by many of the countries absorbing the refugees and also medium grain rice which is typically preferred by Syrians,” said Jamie Warshaw, USA Rice Food Aid Subcommittee Chairman and Louisiana rice miller.  “Additionally, both long and medium grain rice can be fortified to provide seven essential micronutrients.”

Sign-Up for the Daily