Action by the USA Rice Federation following the massive earthquake in Haiti facilitated U.S. government procurement of rice for emergency food aid to the Caribbean nation.
USA Rice worked with USDA and U.S. Agency for International Development officials to locate available rice stocks in Haiti and in position to ship to Haiti for emergency food aid. That effort resulted in USDA’s acquisition of 13,045 metric tons of rice over the first weekend following the earthquake — including 6,545 metric tons of U.S. rice that was on the ground in Haiti and ready for instant distribution.
“The efforts of USA Rice Federation members resulted in delivery of much-needed food to Haiti,” USA Rice Federation President and CEO Betsy Ward said. “We commend our partners at USDA and USAID for the close collaboration and the rapid response to information we provided about rice availability. We will continue to provide information that can help speed U.S. government humanitarian aid to Haiti.”
A massive international relief effort is being coordinated by the United Nations World Food Program to provide food, water and other supplies for those affected by the disaster. The rice procured by the U.S. government will be distributed to the Haitian people by WFP officials.
In addition to the government procurement of U.S. rice, many rice industry members have donated rice and money to the Haitian relief efforts. Other industry donations are planned as the relief and recovery process continues.
“The response from the rice industry has been phenomenal both in terms of working with our partners at USDA and USAID to deliver food-aid and through in-kind donations of rice to the relief effort,” USA Rice Federation Chairman Jamie Warshaw said. “We will continue to support U.S. and other international relief efforts during this crisis.”
Rice is a key staple for the Haitian people and about 90 percent of the rice consumed in the country is grown in the United States.