The United States is in the process of setting up a $15,000 metric-ton rice sale to Iraq.
Iraq is projected to increase its rice imports by 200,000 tons this year, with those imports coming from South America, Asia and right here in Acadiana.
Long grain rice is the type of rice that’s predominately produced in Louisiana, and the USDA projects long grain rice yield to be up by 20% nationwide this year, which is creating an oversupply that’s driving prices down.
But, this new deal with Iraq could level them out.
“I think, more than anything else, what this purchase does is it gives hope that we’ll see additional, more consistent buying from Iraq going forward. And, it comes at a really good time. We’re about 70% harvested in the state. Typically, when we’re in the middle of harvest, that’s when we begin to see some downward pressure on some prices,” explained LSU Extension economist and Southwest Region Director Dr. Kurt Guidry.
The Iraq deal is already given a boost to Louisiana rice prices.
“We’ve actually scene futures prices for rice go up about 30 cents since over the last several days,” explained Guidry.
A farmer near Eunice says the Iraq deal is a positive for him, and other farmers around the state as they near the end of their first rice harvest.
“It’s always a benefit to us, especially here in Louisiana this time of year, because we have a lot of new crop in. They haven’t really started harvesting in other parts of north Louisiana, Arkansas; they’re just getting started, and we already have a lot of crop in the bins ready to go,” explained Fruge Farms owner and operator Michael Fruge.