U.S.-origin rice has been present in the Jordanian market for more than 40 years and it is the largest single supplier of rice to the Hashemite Kingdom, with medium-grain Calrose rice from California as the dominant U.S. variety consumed. Last year, 2021, was a challenging year in Jordan for U.S. rice due to extended drought in California which reduced the rice crop, soaring shipping prices, and unreliable shipping times. Rather than risk losing U.S. market share in this important Arab market, USA Rice identified an opportunity to showcase medium grain rice from Arkansas and Louisiana as an alternative with a seminar.
Using USDA Foreign Market Development program funds, USA Rice, in cooperation with the local Foreign Agricultural Service post and the regional Office of Agricultural Affairs, organized a hybrid seminar event in September 2021 in Amman, Jordan for Jordanian rice traders, as well as representatives of the Jordanian Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply, the American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan, and the Jordan Chamber of Commerce. A USDA senior agricultural economist gave a presentation on the world rice supply situation, and rice researchers from California and Arkansas discussed the availability of U.S. medium grain rice from both of these states via live presentations through the Zoom platform. Rice samples from Arkansas and Louisiana were given to all attendees. USA Rice collected trade leads from the local importers that attended this event and shared with USA Rice membership.
“As a Jordanian rice importer and a long-time supporter of U.S. rice in the Jordanian market, we really appreciate USA Rice organizing this seminar,” said Bassim Hamad, CEO of Intermarkets, owner of one of the major U.S. rice brands in the market. “We got to interact directly and learn firsthand about market dynamics and the U.S. supply situation, helping us further develop our businesses and ensure continued U.S. rice supply on the local market.”
As a result of this seminar, in late 2021 two U.S. rice exporters exported Southern medium grain rice to Jordan, a variety which has not been regularly shipped to Jordan. Additionally, a new identified U.S. rice brand appeared on the market; USA Rice supported its launch with nationwide outdoor billboard advertising. A second U.S. rice brand is expected to launch in spring 2022, packing Calrose rice from California.
As a result of this seminar, in late 2021 two U.S. rice exporters exported Southern medium grain rice to Jordan, and a new U.S. rice brand appeared on the market.