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Louisiana rice farmers eye Iraq
Baton Rouge-AP, March 3, 2004
Louisiana rice farmers may be reunited with what was once their biggest overseas market. The Washington, DC-based USA Rice Federation has announced that talks last week with the Iraq Ministry of Trade may result in a major buy of US rice in the next week or so.

Nothing is signed or official yet, but the federation's chief executive officer, Stuart Proctor, says Iraq is nearly ready to move away from getting its rice through the United Nation's World Food Program and begin open trade instead.

Iraq produces some of its own rice, but imports about 70 percent of the rice it consumes. Proctor says Iraqi trade officials want to make one or two large orders in the next week to replenish their reserves.

He says they expressed interest in buying American rice even at a price nearly double what they could get from other countries. Before embargoes surrounding the 1991 Gulf War cut off trade, Proctor says Iraqis had a particular taste for the long-grain rice varieties that Louisiana and Arkansas farmers grow.

Restoring that customer would be good news for the rice industry in Louisiana which took a price and weather beating in 2002 before rebounding last season.
MGR Archive 5.3.2004
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Region Type Price  
Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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