Jan 30, 2020
BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA -- Each January, leadership from the USA Rice Council and the USA Rice International Promotion Committee meet to discuss promotional activities and budgets for the upcoming year at the International Promotion Planning Conference (IPPC). Prior to the IPPC, these members met with the trade in Colombia to learn about rice production here, U.S. rice imports, and prospects for the future.
The meetings began in Barranquilla where a small advance team, led by International Promotion Committee Chair Terry Harris, met with three importers: Inversiones Lache, Farid Cure, and Granos y Cereales de Colombia. Representatives from each company also participated in the USA Rice reverse trade mission through Louisiana and Arkansas last September. The companies shared their perspectives of the 2020 market in Colombia and how continued collaborations with USA Rice can strengthen the future rice industry as a whole.
The advance team later joined the rest of the IPPC team for additional meetings with importers based in the capital city of Bogotá including Diana Corporación, Best Choice, and Organización Roa Florhuila, to learn about their views of U.S. rice and that from other countries where they source their rice, such as Peru and Ecuador. The U.S. benefits from tariff free access for 112,346 MT of rice in 2020; each year, the U.S. quota is fully utilized. Not only is there still an obvious demand for long grain, but also a growing market for U.S. medium and short grain to supply sushi restaurants and ethnic markets.
The IPPC team also met with Fedearroz, the National Rice Federation comprised of rice producers, and Induarroz, the Rice Industry Federation comprised of rice millers. Due in large part to the increase of Venezuelan refugees in Colombia, rice consumption here rose 8 percent in 2019 and prices are currently 30 percent higher than this time last year. Prices are expected to drop over the next few months likely due to the increase in U.S. imports.
"It was good to meet with the importers and the trade here in Colombia, one of our top ten export markets, and hear about ways we can improve our trading relationship," said Harris. "The interest in U.S. rice here is strong and we are working to grow that interest."