The Philippines anticipates to put its name in the global rice map as “Dona Maria” premium rice is set to be exported in October at 156 metric tons (MT) through one of world’s largest retailer, the French Carrefour.

Philippines puts name in global rice map as Dona Maria is exported through French Carrefour and to Los Angeles, USA 1

SL Agritech Corp., (SLAC), producer of Dona Maria Jasponica and Miponica brown and white rice, is all set for a shipment of the Dona Maria hybrid rice for distribution in Carrefour retail chain in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

A separate 19.5 MT of Dona Maria rice will also be shipped to Los Angeles, California by October.

A famous supermarket chain, Carrefour is known to be the world’s second largest retail group in terms of revenue, the second in profit just next to Wal Mart. It is the largest retail group in Europe.

The price is expected to be attractive for the country’s foreign exchange receipt and for farmers tilling the hybrid rice. It is being set at $1,250 per MT. Price of regular milled rice hovered at just $500 to $550 per MT in the international market.

“DA will not allow you to export at less than $1000 per ton. DA provided for us the opportunity to export rice when we shipped to Dubai the first time (last May),” said SLAC Chairman Henry Lim Bon Liong.

The shipment through Carrefour involves eight containers of around 20 MT per container. At this rate of 160 MT per month for Dubai alone, yearly shipment could reach to 1,920 MT.

If this volume of export can become consistent, it will be more than enough for the Philippines to hit the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) earlier export target of 200 MT by 2014.

Moreover, the export volume for the Dubai and US markets are further hoped to increase.

“This is just for market penetration,” said Donna T. Lim, SLAC assistant vice president-supply chain.

Its initial purchase order is for October to December arrival in Dubai.

The company has come up with a little different package for the Dubai market to attract Filipinos to patronize local farmers’ produce.

“Fifty percent (of the Dubai population) is Filipinos. They’re eating rice that is imported from Thailand. We did a little twist on our packaging to ask them to help support Filipino rice so they may support Filipino farmers,” said Lim.

For the export to Los Angeles, SLAC will be shipping through international trader Triple A.

The company also expects the distribution of Dona Maria through Carrefour to possibly reach other Asian and Middle East markets in the future. These may include Qatar, Saudi Arabia China, and Indonesia.

The international market has apparently developed an interest in Philippine rice as DA officially adopted a rice export strategy particularly for fancy rice. DA facilitated shipment of an initial 35 MT to Dubai, 15 MT to Kuwait and Hong Kong, and 11.55 MT to Germany, Hong Kong, Macau, Canada, and the Netherlands.

SLAC accounted for the export of 20 MT of Dona Maria Jasponica and Miponica brown and white rice during the May shipment.

“DA’s export has attracted the international market already. It has attracted the attention of big buyers, so Carrefour talked to us,” said Lim.

For any questions, please call Ms. Donna T. Lim, 02-813-7828; for interview requests, 0916-266-6604