Price worries for California rice exports

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The outlook isn’t great for the price of California’s medium- and short-grain rice that will be harvested in 2013. Greater competition from Australia and Egypt in the global market has growers worried

The market price for rice is down, but not because of California rice flooding the market; the state’s acreage and production both dropped last year. Several countries had good rice production in 2012, and two big exporters—Australia and Egypt—are stronger exporters after not producing big crops in 2011.

According to an article posted on Central Valley Business, California, which produces about 70 percent of the U.S. medium- and short-grain rice, exports about half its rice crop. Its largest market is Northeast Asia, which includes Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. While those exports have remained stable, California's other key markets in the Mediterranean and Oceania face substantial competition from Australia and Egypt.

The U.S./California market share loss appears to be greatest in the Mediterranean. Australia's 2012-13 crop, which will be harvested in April and May, is expected to be the largest since its 2001 harvest, and Egypt had a record 2012-13 crop—both are targeting the Mediterranean for export sales.

California growers are also concerned about government programs being pulled out from under them, even through the 2008 farm bill was extended. The federal budget cuts that are expected to occur in the coming months could still have Congress raiding the farm bill for budget savings.

Read the whole Central Valley Business Times article by clicking here.

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