Representatives of the USA Rice Federation met with members of the Mexico Rice Council recently to discuss how the two groups can work more closely to increase awareness of rice in Mexico. Mexico is currently the No. 1 market for U.S. rice.

“We look forward to continuing our positive relationship with the Mexican Rice Council,” said Federation president and CEO Stuart Proctor.

“Rice consumption in Mexico is expanding rapidly, and it's a direct result of the great partnerships that have been created with leaders and innovators in every part of Mexico.”

“While per capita consumption in Mexico remains one of the lowest in the hemisphere, both USA Rice and the Mexican Rice Council believe there is potential for growth,” said Marvin Lehrer, USA Rice's director, Latin America program.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, per capita rice consumption in Mexico is estimated to have grown by 3.7 percent from 2001 to 2002. The embassy report cited the USA Rice Federation's program in Mexico.

U.S. rice exports to Mexico reached a record 729,559 metric tons during calendar year 2002, an 89 percent increase in justfive years and an almost three-fold increase since the North American Free Trade Agreement began in January 1994.

Preliminary data for the first two months of 2003 indicate a strong year ahead.

USA Rice Federation is the national advocate for all segments of the U.S. rice industry, conducting activities to influence government programs, developing and initiating programs to increase worldwide demand, and providing other services to increase industry profitability.