Market Matters Blog

Feeding the People of Ukraine With U.S. Rice

Mary Kennedy
By  Mary Kennedy , DTN Basis Analyst
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As the war rages on in the Ukraine, millions of Ukrainians may soon face serious food insecurity because of the ongoing conflict, the United Nations warned on March 29, according to a UN press release.

On March 29, USA Rice said that several of its members worked together to deliver a shipment of U.S.-grown rice to help feed the people of Ukraine. The extraordinary effort came together as the industry saw the urgent need facing Ukrainian people, who are experiencing unprecedented food insecurity, noted the press release.

Taking advantage of rice already on the European continent, three USA Rice members -- Sun Valley Rice, Farmers' Rice Cooperative, and Kennedy Rice Mill -- gifted 20 metric tons of U.S. Calrose rice. In partnership with freight forwarders in the United Kingdom and the European Union, and Megasnab, an importer in Ukraine, that rice is now on its way to help feed the Ukrainian people.

USA Rice noted in the press release that, "Since the war began, more than 10 million Ukrainians have been displaced, and millions more continue living in cities under constant bombardment. According to Reuters, property damage is estimated to exceed $565 billion, including a great deal of infrastructure that has been destroyed, cutting off supply lines, making food and water scarce in many parts of the country."

Ken LaGrande, CEO of Sun Valley Rice; Meryl Kennedy, CEO of Kennedy Rice Mill; and Rick Rhody, CEO of Farmers' Rice Cooperative, said in a joint statement, "We could not in good conscience watch as innocent people were being killed, starved, and driven from their homes. We had rice in position, and though it was destined for other customers, we agreed it was urgently needed in Ukraine. And we are thankful our customers understood and agreed."

USA Rice President and CEO Betsy Ward added, "The U.S. rice industry has always been proud of our long record of helping those in need through international food assistance. What is taking place in Ukraine is unprecedented, and we stand ready to further assist and continue to be in contact with our U.S. government and private voluntary organization (PVO) partners to find the best ways to do so."

Ward said working with the United Nations' World Food Program (WFP) is an excellent way to ensure needed supplies are getting to the people who need them. She encouraged additional rice companies to register as goods and services providers with WFP's supply chain division.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) followed assessments in 19 of Ukraine's 24 oblasts, or regions, which indicated that it was uncertain that Ukraine could harvest crops, plant new ones or sustain livestock production.

"An immediate and worrying finding is that food shortages are expected immediately or in the next three months in over 40% of the surveyed areas and cases," said Rein Paulsen, FAO director, Office of Emergencies and Resilience.

"The need for direct food assistance will only continue to grow," added USA Rice.

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