Major rice buyers of U.S. long-grain rice from Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama along with affiliated U.S. industry members, all tuned in to USRPA’s virtual conference yesterday. The presentations focused on the current status of the on-going rice harvest, the short and medium-term outlook of the market, and the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

After some introductory comments from Marcela Garcia (COO of USRPA), Dwight Roberts gave a brief overview of the past 12 months. Roberts described the development of the 2019 harvest into 2020, when the COVID-19 panic set in and living through a pandemic became the reality, in a series of developments he described as “The Perfect Storm.”

Dr. Thomas Wynn updated participants on the current harvest and development along the gulf coast, where today farmers are cutting full speed, as well as the anticipation of the harvest in the Mississippi Delta. 
Finally, Dennis DeLaughter gave an overview of the world rice market with a focus on the U.S. outlook in short and medium terms. DeLaughter then turned to an economic look at COVID-19 and its influence on the rice market and the economy going forward. DeLaughter highlighted recent information which was extremely interesting to participants; his final thoughts being:1)   the U.S. supply will be larger but will still take some time to fill in the holes, 2)   the world market is vulnerable to supply issues & prices will remain elevated in 2021 and 3)   COVID-19…. better as confidence improves…but far from normal.

Comments from the various countries are greatly appreciated:

“Excellent Initiative” (Costa Rica) 

“Awesome, Perfect. Straight to the point and very executive” (Nicaragua)

“We believe this type of meeting has great value, you should do this regularly with this excellent format” (Guatemala)

“Great session, learned a lot” (Honduras)

“very interesting and useful information. We want you to do it again later in the harvest”

“Excellent meeting, for us it’s important to know and understand the trends and risks” (Mexico)

“This kind of meeting is so important, especially during the pandemic with so much uncertainty in the market, for both farmers and our customers in Latin America. We believe in supporting our rice buyers to make important decisions in managing their markets,” responded Dwight Roberts.

The meeting ended with a short Q&A session. 

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