Missouri rice farmers might soon be trading with an unlikely partner: Egypt.
The Egyptian government recently slashed rice planting in half to conserve water, and a new dam near the Nile River’s source in Ethiopia is threatening to stem the flow of Egypt’s rice paddies.
That could be an opportunity for Missouri. The U.S. exports half its rice crop, and Missouri is a leading rice-producing state. Southeast Missouri is a major producer of medium grain rice.
Last week, Greg Yielding with the Missouri Rice Council and U.S. Rice Producers said Egyptian rice mills have expressed interest in buying Missouri’s unmilled rice because of water shortages in Egypt.
Yielding traveled to Egypt in July, in partnership with Southeast Missouri State University, to propose opening a new rice trade market there. He said rice traded between Missouri and Egypt could also find its way to other countries throughout the Middle East.