Congratulations to ARROZGUA, the Guatemalan Rice Association, on their 25th anniversary. ARROZGUA was founded in 1997 as a non-profit organization that represents both Guatemalan producers and millers. The US Rice Producers Association is proud of the long working relationship and friendship over the years in our joint efforts to promote rice for Guatemalan consumers.
Today, Guatemalan consumption is growing, and consumers are more aware of the benefits of eating rice. The organization has consistently created innovative promotional programs to increase rice consumption, particularly with the school nutrition program that teaches school cooks and mothers the benefits of adding rice to their diets.
On behalf of the USRPA board members and staff, a very special thank you to ARROZGUA for their continued support and efforts in promoting U.S. rice. We look forward to another successful 25 years of partnership and know you will continue to represent your members well!
Mexico’s Rice Situation Report – Agri-Food Information Service – SIAP
Released June 13, 2022
SIAP (Servicio de Información Agroalimentaria y Pesquera) reported that at the end of the 2021 Spring-Summer Cycle, paddy rice production reached 161,291 MT equivalent to 106,129 MT of white rice, 18% less than the obtained in the same period last year.
Until April 30, 2022, in the 2021/2022 Fall-Winter cycle, 19% of the planted areas had been harvested obtaining 16,562 MT of paddy rice equivalent to 10,898 MT of white rice, with the State of Michoacan, contributing with 78% of the harvest so far.
For the new 2022 Spring Summer Cycle, it is expected that planting will reach 32,613 hectares, expecting a production of 201,632 MT of paddy rice / 132,674 white rice.
In the full commercial year October 2021/ September 2022, the Mexican government expects a production of 170 thousand MT; Imports around 1.03 million MT; exports around 12 thousand Mt and a consumption of 1.18 million MT, leaving a final inventory of 112 thousand MT in September 2022.
Prices paid to producers in April 2022 were 5,380 MXP / US$374.24 per MT, 24% higher than in April 2021. Wholesale reference price was 19.75 MXP /US$9.87 per kilo, 5.3% higher than in April 2021, and price to consumer reached 33.15 MXP / US$16.50 per kilo, 4.5% higher than in April 2021.
Submitted by Raul Caballero, USRPA representative in Mexico
USRPA Hires New Representation in Mexico
To continue with the US Rice Producers Association promotional program in Mexico funded under the FAS/MAP budget, USRPA has recently hired Mercalimentos Consulting firm, located in Mexico City and led by Raul Caballero and Violeta Picazzo. Through their company, Raul and Violeta have represented various U.S. trade associations that promote U.S. products into Mexico and Latin America since the beginning of NAFTA, now USMCA. For over 20 years Mercalimentos Consultores has represented the US Dry Bean Council, the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, the National Sunflower Association, the US Popcorn Board, and the Food Export Association Midwest and Food Export Association Northeast, helping hundreds of companies facilitate business relationships. Mercalimentos has the experience to manage FAS-USDA programs such as the MAP, FMD, EMP, GBI programs, having an excellent relationship with the FAS-USDA offices in Mexico and the majority of Latin America. In the development of this new relationship with USRPA, Mercalimentos has been given the task to develop the new Spanish logo “USA Arroz” (US Rice), as well as a new website. They also oversee the social media program management for the Facebook and Instagram pages Consume Arroz USA, with the inclusion of content development through popular local chefs in Mexico, as well as a program of posts that promote the nutrition qualities and advantages of consuming U.S. rice.
During the month of May, Raul and Violeta had the opportunity to attend the Rice Market & Technology Convention in Cancun, to initiate connections in person with the USRPA staff and membership. They will share more about their attendance experience in their next article. US Rice Producers Association is excited to welcome Mercalimentos to the team!
North Africa Digital Campaign Update
The month of November showed significant growth for USRPA's Facebook page in our North African Market, RizAmerican. The page gained a total of 1,300 new followers (a growth of 39.3%), with total followers now reaching 4,800. Facebook likes, comments and interaction rates also show positive growth. More than 650,000 impressions were made in just one month, the majority of the audience being females from Tunisia.
Our Moroccan-based influencer @MouniaSenhaji posted a series of stories talking about U.S. rice and prepared a healthy rice salad for her fans in North Africa. She tagged USRPA on Facebook, which also helps to increase awareness and achieve a higher reach, connecting both channels. The stories reached an average of 17,000 accounts per story.
Ralson Family Farms Marks Historical Moment Selling U.S. Grown Rice to China
Ralston Family Farms's marketing efforts brought encouraging news for the entire U.S. rice industry this week with a historical sale of U.S. grown rice to China. Grace Wang, USRPA's Eastern Hemisphere Director, attended the press release hosted by Ralston Family Farms at Atkins, Arkansas on September 15, 2021. Arkansas's Governor, Asa Hutchinson, and Agriculture Commissioner, Wes Ward, commemorated the event, commenting positively on the news and emphasizing the importance of the sale not only for the company but also for the state's economy.
Detail of the release from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture can be found here.
The US Rice Producers Association was the first rice organization to venture into this market, and over the past 20+ years, USRPA has actively engaged with buyers with funding from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service programs. The USDA first awarded USRPA Emerging Market Progam funds in 2007, which were used to launch consumer research and promotional programs, including surveys, rice tastings, and visiting retail stores throughout China. The results of these activities while conducting meetings with government officials and importers ultimately led to the rice protocol established between the two governments, allowing business to take place.
The US Rice Producers Association actively reached out to Ralston Famy Farms, along with other rice mills to assist them in registering for the government-approved list of mills to export to China. USRPA continues its marketing outreach in China, increasing awareness and building relations with the Chinese rice industry. This year, USRPA is focusing its efforts on a digital marketing campaign in China via social media, e-newsletters, a video blog as well as press coverage to emphasize the many benefits of U.S. rice.
Grace Wang reports that Chinese trade and consumers continue to show growing interest in U.S. rice and this recent sale resonates well with our marketing message that U.S. rice is of high quality, adheres to the highest safety standards, is sustainably grown, and is traceable from farm to table. Congratulations to Ralston Family Farms!
USRPA's Promotional Work in El Salvador is Recognized Nationwide with Broadcasted Cooking Competition
On Wednesday, July 28th, the much anticipated Sabor USA competitive cooking event was held, which was broadcast on Facebook LIVE. Sixty students from the Culinary Arts school "Les Art Culinaires," in El Salvador, competed to prepare the best recipe with products imported from the United States, including a category for rice.
Students presented some amazing dishes including an impressive sweet rice dish with strawberries and dried fruit presented as a main course.
Jean Manes, the Charge d'affaires for El Salvador at the US Embassy was the guest of honor and gave the inaugural address at the competition. USRPA's promotional work and sponsorship of the event was recognized throughout the day, bringing attention to the nutritional benefits of US rice which the campaign, translated to "Eat Healthy, US Rice, Guaranteed Nutrition," continues to promote.
USRPA's Digital Marketing Campaign in El Salvador Targets Younger, Health Conscience Audience
July 1st marked the start of USRPA’s digital campaign in El Salvador with the slogan: Eat Healthy, USA Rice, Guaranteed Nutrition. For this year’s campaign, a new Instagram account was created under the name of ArrozYSalud which will draw in a younger, active, and more involved audience. The account will feature influencers who will encourage healthy rice consumption with new dynamic and vibrant content.
Similarly, our Facebook account was revamped with a current following of 9,192 under the URL: http://www.facebook.com/arrozysalud. The campaign shares important content via live videos and posts which encourage engagement. Social media influencers, Chef Juan Salomón Miguel, who has an established career in traditional media and now on social media, and Rodrigo Valdivieso, a well know nutritionist to athletes, will be joining the campaign and bringing their followers to help spread the message that U.S. rice is healthy, tasty, economical and versatile.
USRPA's Virtual Cooking Classes Continue in Guatemala
In recent weeks, the USA Arroz Facebook fan page has seen a rapid increase in followers with more people interested in learning how to cook U.S. rice.
The virtual learning trend continues to gain popularity as a way to connect with others safely and conveniently. For these reasons, USRPA and ARROZGUA jumped on the trend early on as a way to connect with consumers and teaching them new ways to prepare nutritious and economical recipes with classes via Facebook Live and Zoom Webinars.
According to media monitoring reports, Facebook is the most used social network in Guatemala. The last cooking class reached nearly 2,000 initial streams, which continue to be shared amongst users on social media.
USPRA Social Media Campaign in China Kicks Off
The first post of U.S. rice on China’s top social media networks, WeChat and Weibo, went live last week. Social media platforms Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, and WeChat, with almost a billion monthly users, have become China’s top social media platforms. Implemented with USDA/FAS ATP program funding, USRPA manages official accounts on both platforms, allowing the U.S. rice industry to target China’s masses in a cost-effective manner, with the potential to achieve exposures in the millions. The account name is created with a catchy phrase in Chinese which literally means “Beautiful life originated from USA,” as the word "rice" is pronounced very similarly to “beautiful/good” in Mandarin.
Bi-weekly posts will continue for the rest of the year, which will entail key product characteristics, such as U.S. rice growing cycles, farming practices, health benefits, and applications as well as recipes to engage with potential consumers across China.
USRPA's Digital Marketing Campaign in Guatemala Continues to Grow
Begining in 2020 USRPA and ARROZGUA have had to find new and innovative ways to teach Guatemala's population how to prepare delicious and diverse dishes using U.S. rice.
USA Arroz's Digital Campaign started in April 2020 with 340 followers on its Facebook fan page and has since increased 789%! The page currently has over 5,000 followers, surpassing the fan page followers of renowned chefs and influencers.
Supermarkets have reported an increase of 18% in rice sales in the last 8 months, and that trend continues to increase as just last month, local supermarket chains in Guatemala reported a sales increase of 23% in comparison to the previous year. Digital Campaign activities in Guatemala currently combine 3 broadcast channels: radio (RCN Radio Group), Television (TVQtv), and two digital platforms: ZOOM and Facebook Live, which are directly reaching a large and very diverse audience spanning several target groups.