In July, a Sacramento area rice producer became the first U.S. company to secure a contract with China to export rice into the nation. China’s government began permitting American rice imports late last year and the Sun Valley Rice Co., from Arbuckle in Colusa County, became the first U.S. company to export the product to China. The contract involves the sale of Calrose medium-grain rice to Shenzhen Yintuo, which is a Chinese importer-exporter that is part of the Dragon Ocean Hing Group. Sun Valley Rice was founded in 2000 and it initiated talks with China on the California rice market in 2004, which goes to show how difficult it was to secure this contract. Sun Valley Rice CEO Ken LaGrande stated the following in a statement,
Fifteen years of patience and hard work have paid off. It is truly an honor and a privilege to blaze this trail of trading history – American rice in China. Our team has worked with incredible tenacity and diligence to reach this point.
According to Reuters, Sun Valley Rice’s contract was for 40 tons of rice and apparently China opened up its customs to U.S. rice as a gesture of goodwill after years of talks with the United States. China is the world’s largest rice producer and consumer, according to United States Department of Agriculture, while the U.S. produces less than two percent of the world’s rice. According to a release by Sun Valley Rice, their rice will be available for retail and food service distribution in China. The company grows rice in the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba and sells its product internationally. Hopefully more California based companies are able to sell their products internationally as well.