WEST BANK, RAMALLAH – USA Rice has initiated promotional program activities here for the first time utilizing Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program funds. The ATP program is one of three programs that President Trump authorized in 2018 to assist agricultural producers who have been affected by retaliatory tariffs in many overseas markets, and USA Rice received more than $5.5 million to promote U.S. rice internationally over the next three years.
The West Bank imported some U.S.-origin rice in the past as the mostly Arabic speaking local population consumes rice on a daily basis and appreciates the high quality characteristics of U.S.-grown rice that fits perfectly with the local cuisine.
“There are several identified U.S. rice brands available in the market, and USA Rice reached out to importers to develop promotions supporting the increased sale of these brands,” said Eszter Somogyi, USA Rice director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. “Local traders have been very interested in participating in the program and agreed to contribute 30 percent of the third party promotional costs.”
USA Rice recruited four different U.S. rice brands to participate in promotional activities that started in October and include billboard advertising and LED screens installed in several major cities, such as Ramallah, Hebron, and Jericho. Radio spots also are being aired on selected radio channels touting the benefits of U.S. rice. More in-store promotions are planned for November and December to influence consumer decisions at the point of sale.
These promotions have demonstrated increased awareness of U.S. rice and as of September 2019, U.S. rice exports are up 90 percent over the same time period last year, totaling 13,200 MT.
“The strong interest and willingness of local importers to participate in our program and contribute in cash to the promotional costs is a huge success and we look forward to further developing the program in the West Bank in the coming years,“ said Somogyi.