USDA FAS: USA Rice Programs in Jordan a Success

Apr 25, 2017
Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan:
lamb cooked in yogurt sauce served over rice
AMMAN, JORDAN – According to the most recent Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) Report on the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, consumer programs aimed at promoting U.S.-grown rice here are successful based on the market dominance and price of the U.S. commodity.

“Rice is a staple of the Jordanian diet…[and] in marketing year 2017/18 imports are expected to reach 210,000 metric tons [with] U.S. market share expected to remain steady at nearly 50 percent supplying 100,000 metric tons,” reads the March 22 report.  “Although the price is relatively higher, the U.S. industry’s market development efforts have paid off, generating loyalty among Jordanian consumers who have developed a strong preference for U.S. origin rice.”

USA Rice-sponsored promotion programs in Jordan include print and online advertising in advance of the Ramadan holiday when great feasts with rice are often prepared, outdoor advertising in 30 high-profile, high-traffic locations, and the distribution of branded aprons and other cooking apparel to tens of thousands of families in the capital.

“We are working to improve our already excellent relationship with Jordanian consumers and see this market, number one in the Arab region for U.S. medium grain, as one we can continue to grow,” explained Hartwig Schmidt, USA Rice’s representative for the region.  “Medium grain is the local favorite, constituting about half of imports, with long grain, basmati, and jasmine making up the rest.”

Schmidt said that extreme water scarcity here means Jordan must import a great many crops – especially one as water-dependent as rice.  He said India, the next largest origin, accounts for about 23 percent of imports, but that no country pays a tariff to import rice to Jordan.

“Jordan is a young country with a growing population thanks in part to refugees from Palestine, Iraq, and Syria,” Schmidt added.  “Rice is an important part of all their cultures, and we’ll do all we can to ensure they appreciate the quality and dependability of U.S. rice.”