Role of Rice in Food Aid is Major Topic of Discussion

Sep 20, 2016
Food aid firsthand at Riceland
STUTTGART, ARKANSAS – Last week, representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) joined Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward and staff from USA Rice; the Arkansas Rice Federation; the offices of Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, and Congressman Rick Crawford; the Arkansas Farm Bureau; the Agricultural Council of Arkansas; and Riceland Foods and Producers Rice Mill to discuss the role of rice in current U.S. food aid policies.  

Discussions focused primarily on effective ways to utilize rice in the U.S. government’s food aid programs, including the use of fortified rice as it has the potential to resolve persistent micronutrient deficiencies in disadvantaged populations – a high priority for U.S. programs.  

“I find great value in face-to-face meetings like these because it helps everyone around the table understand the goals and priorities each group has,” said Carl Brothers, chief operating officer for Riceland Foods, who led the meetings.  “We appreciate the opportunity to take stakeholders into the mill and out in the field to show them firsthand the realities we are dealing with.  I think we all now have a better understanding of what they are trying to do and what they are capable of doing with rice in their programs, and they leave us with a solid grasp of some of the many challenges we as an industry are facing.”

Following the meeting, FAS, USAID, and USTR staff went on a mill tour and visited a nearby farm to participate in harvest activities.

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