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Fortified Rice Now Used in 25 Countries   By Sarah Moran

WASHINGTON, DC — The 2019 fiscal year (that ended on September 30) was a stellar year for rice in food aid, with coverage expanding to 25 countries.  U.S. rice is also being used in all major U.S. government food aid programs including Food for Education/school feeding (McGovern Dole), Food For Progress/monetization, and PL 480 Title II development and emergency feeding.  Nearly 80,000 MT of U.S. rice was used in global food assistance programs for FY2019, with fortified rice making up around 30 percent of the total.  

New FY19 trends in rice usage for food assistance include:  notable expansion in sub-Saharan Africa with rice going to 17 of the 30 recipient countries in Africa; expansion to new destinations such as Kyrgyzstan, Laos, and Nepal; and a sizeable increase in the amount of rice used in PL 480 development and emergency programs administered through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“We are excited about the opportunity to continue to save and improve lives around the world through the consumption of milled and increasingly, fortified rice,” said Bobby Hanks, chair of the USA Rice Food Aid Subcommittee.  “However, we believe we have much more to do.”

In the coming year, USA Rice will continue to work with partners at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), USAID, World Food Program (WFP), and in the international development community to encourage greater usage of fortified rice to address and treat moderate malnutrition.  USA Rice will partner with various U.S. agencies to encourage new research on packaging and shelf life that could help increase the quantity of fortified rice in prepositioning warehouses.  Prepositioning allows for rapid responses in cases of immediate needs due to unexpected natural or man-made events (floods, etc.).  

“Food aid typically represents 3-5 percent of U.S. exports and our farmers take great pride in being able to provide America’s bounty to those in need all over the world,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  “We are encouraged to see 7,000 MT of fortified rice in domestic prepositioning for the calendar year in progress and hope to see this tonnage increase in 2020.”