SunRice is one of the largest rice food companies in the world and one of the Australia’s leading branded food exporters.In the last month meeting SunRice encouraged the growers to plant rice this ­season despite increasing pressure from alternatives crops.

Sun­Rice chairman Gerry Lawson said growers that they should think before they switch the crop as only marginal profit is not sufficient but also changing to another crop can take a great capital investment and  as a grower, all the  aspects of changing from one crop to another must be seen.

Water is a critical issue and we encouraged growers that when they think through what to do with their water ­allocations and make their deliberations, that they think of rice.However growers are concerned about the supply of water and the water allocation on the Murray Valley are very low.

Mr Lawson said there was strong interest in shorter ­season rice varieties to plant this summer as this uses less amount of water to irrigate and also allows the farmer to plant another crop immediately after harvest.

About 826,000 tonnes of rice were produced last ­summer, and prices were ­expected to be about $350 a tonne for variety reiziq. Reiziq is now standard medium grain variety and is priced at the medium grain return and about $450/tonne for the specialist variety koshihikari.

Mr Lawson expressed his views to increase the quantity of rice to about 950,000 tonnes as Australian rice has a strong rice market over the world.He said that the Australian rice has already a market but they need increase quantity so that they can fill the orders timely.

“Australian rice is loved by the world because it is as good as it gets.

Mr Lawson said that both the SunRice and the rice growers are in good position in the market so there is no need to make their market position.

Mr Lawson said drought in California, another major rice production area, would ­impact on world prices, though the extent would not be known for some time.