ARLINGTON, VA – Last week, several USA Rice members worked together to deliver a shipment of U.S.-grown rice to help feed the people of Ukraine. The extraordinary effort came together as the industry saw the urgent need facing Ukrainian people, who are experiencing unprecedented food insecurity as a result of the Russian invasion that began on February 24.
Taking advantage of rice already on the European continent, three USA Rice members – Sun Valley Rice, Farmers’ Rice Cooperative, and Kennedy Rice Mill – generously gifted 20 metric tons of U.S. Calrose rice. In partnership with freight forwarders in the United Kingdom and the European Union, and Megasnab, an importer in Ukraine, that rice is now on its way
to help feed the Ukrainian people.
Since the war began more than 10 million Ukrainians have been displaced, and millions more continue living in cities under constant bombardment. According to Reuters, property damage is estimated to exceed $565 billion, including a great deal of infrastructure that has been destroyed, cutting off supply lines, making food and water scarce in many parts of the country. As a result, the need for direct food assistance will only continue to grow.
“We could not in good conscience watch as innocent people were being killed, starved, and driven from their homes. We had rice in position, and though it was destined for other customers, we agreed it was urgently needed in Ukraine. And we are thankful our customers understood and agreed,” said Ken LaGrande, CEO of Sun Valley Rice; Meryl Kennedy, CEO of Kennedy Rice Mill; and Rick Rhody, CEO of Farmers’ Rice Cooperative, in a joint statement.
“The U.S. rice industry has always been proud of our long record of helping those in need through international food assistance,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward. “What is taking place in Ukraine is unprecedented, and we stand ready to further assist and continue to be in contact with our U.S. government and private voluntary organization (PVO) partners to find the best ways to do so.”
Ward added that working with the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) is an excellent way to ensure needed supplies are getting to the people who need them and she encouraged additional rice companies to register as goods and services providers with WFP’s supply chain division