Sep 09, 2019
GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA -- Last week, USA Rice made headlines here at the annual Sabor USA event that brings together U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) cooperators to promote U.S. ag products. This year, 21 cooperators participated in the event that ranged from California wines to U.S. rice.
The event was strategically located in the middle of Plaza Cayala and drew large crowds from a nearby marathon. The atmosphere was cheerful and energetic as people gathered around booths for samples and information about the U.S. products on display.
One of the most popular booths was the giant paella at the front of the tent prepared by USA Rice and the U.S. Rice Producers Association to promote U.S. rice. U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Luis Arreaga and Minister Counselor Todd Drennan stopped by to assist in preparing the paella that provided more than 2,000 servings to attendees.
That evening, USA Rice celebrity chef Javier Rodriguez took to the stage for a 45-minute presentation to demonstrate a quick and easy rice recipe that the whole family can enjoy. From start to finish the audience was fully engaged in the tricks and tips that Chef Javier offered. Upon completion of the recipe, he invited audience members on stage for samples and reactions to the dish. Members of the crowd also received samples and one-pound bags of long grain rice, complements of Agroindustrias Albay, an importer of U.S. rice and supporter of USA Rice promotional activities.
“Sabor USA events and online resources are fantastic tools to showcase U.S. products abroad,” said Asiha Grigsby, USA Rice manager of international promotion who attended the event and helped prepare the paella. “This two-pronged strategy is essential for cooperators such as USA Rice to spread awareness about our products, which in turn complements our own promotional efforts. We will continue to collaborate with FAS Guatemala to expand the reach of Sabor USA throughout the region, and to have a direct, positive effect on U.S. rice visibility abroad.”
Guatemalans’ per capita consumption of rice is about 17 pounds annually. Domestic production covers about 20 percent, and the majority of the 80 percent that is imported comes from the U.S. The U.S. exports more than 100,000 MT annually; 120,000 MT in 2018, valued at $37 million.