May 19, 2021
ARLINGTON, VA – USA Rice has a long-standing trade relationship with the National Federation of Rice Producers in Colombia (FEDEARROZ), an organization representing Colombian rice farmers that provides technological advice, seeds, and agrochemicals to their thousands of members.
Recently, however, FEDEARROZ tapped the relationship with USA Rice for a different purpose, namely, to gather information on rice research to assist their organization in developing recommendations for future rice production in Colombia. FEDEARROZ representatives met virtually with USA Rice’s Dr. Steve Linscombe, who drew on his more than 35 years of experience as a rice researcher at the Louisiana State University AgCenter Rice Research Station, to answer questions about climate change, water usage optimization, and sustainability, among others.
Jean Paul Van Brackel, director of economic research for FEDEARROZ and Francisco Rosell, manager of Penta-Marketing, conducted the nearly two-hour interview. “We were very happy for the opportunity to interview Dr. Linscombe,” said Van Brackel. “It is useful to learn of these experiences for future research.”
The insight gathered from this conversation, in addition to interviews with Colombian and international experts in the field, will be used to help develop an official strategic plan that includes the industry's strengths and weaknesses and potential future challenges. The document will be available to FEDEARROZ members later this year.
“What I relayed to our rice friends in Colombia is that the success of the U.S. rice industry relies on the intuition of skilled producers and the implementation of sound research,” said Linscombe. “These factors support the continual development of methodology and technology to overcome the challenges presented by an unpredictable environment so I emphasized the importance of continued investment in research and development as a benefit for their industry as well.”
Colombia is the most active trade partner for U.S. origin rice in South America. The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, established in 2012, allows an annually increasing duty free tariff rate quota (TRQ) for rice, leading to duty-free access in 2030. The auction of the TRQ licenses from 2012-2020 have brought in more than $86 million to U.S. rice research institutions; FEDEARROZ has received an equal amount to assist their rice farmers.