U.S. rice seen as alternative in Taiwan market

Sherry Chien,The China Post

Now that the rice market is open to foreign competition following Taiwan’s entry into the World Trade Organization, consumers can choose from rice grown in the U.S., Japan, Australia and Thailand.

The top-five rice exporters in 2001 were Thailand, Vietnam, the U.S., Pakistan and mainland China. American exporters promoted their rice as pure, not chemically polluted and without side effects. “The rice was grown in a clean environment with fresh water pumped from deep wells, nearby rivers, canals and reservoirs,” said Amanda Lin, the representative of the USA Rice Federation in Taiwan. American rice is mainly grown in the states of Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

“There are many different types of U.S. rice, including Calrose, M-401, Koshihikari, Southern long grain rice and organic brown rice. In the Taiwan foreign rice market, U.S. rice takes a 60 percent share,” she said. “And in the Taiwan rice market, you can only find two types of U.S. rice: Calrose and Koshihikari,” she added.

Calrose is a medium grain product. Its seedlings are from Japan and are processed in California, where it currently has an 80 percent share of the market. The grains are fat yet taste crispy and chewy. They do not stick to the teeth and have a sweet aftertaste, Lin said. Koshihikari is one of the best Japanese short rice products. It requires a long cooking time and is the best choice for making sushi, she commented. Consumers interested in buying American rice products can look for the country of origin label on the package.