• (left to right) SunRice head of corporate affairs Anthony McFarlane, head of agribusiness Nicole Griffin, minister for trade Don Farrell, Global Rice CEO Belinda Tumbers, and SunRice deputy chair John Bradford.
    (left to right) SunRice head of corporate affairs Anthony McFarlane, head of agribusiness Nicole Griffin, minister for trade Don Farrell, Global Rice CEO Belinda Tumbers, and SunRice deputy chair John Bradford.
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SunRice Group was awarded the Agribusiness Food and Beverages Award at the 61st Australian Export Awards, in recognition of outstanding international success in the field of agricultural products and manufactured foods and beverages.

In a production year of 600,000 paddy tonnes of rice, the SunRice Group employs over 650 staff and contributes close to $500m in direct payments to the regional economy.

SunRice Group started more than 70 years ago when a group of Riverina rice growers pooled their resources to build a single rice mill in the 1950s. Today the business is a $1.6b ASX-listed FMCG company selling more than 1500 products, under 35 brands into more than 50 countries.

SunRice Group CEO Paul Serra said the award was an achievement that would be celebrated across the business and industry, ‘from the paddy to the plate.’

“As a global FMCG business and one of Australia’s leading food exporters, our success is underpinned by our people, our farmers who are amongst the best rice growers in the world, our customers and our ongoing commitment to research and development to maintain Australia’s global reputation as a leader in rice products,” said Serra.

The Australian rice industry considers itself to be a leader in water efficiency and is world leading in its rice yields. SunRice’s reputation and multi-market strategy allows it to source paddy rice from 12 different countries, including Australia.

Serra said that the federal government’s recent legislation to reintroduce water buy backs would present new challenges for the industry to remain globally competitive. 

“We hope to continue to be an exporter of premium rice products around the world for many years to come.

“Our multi-market strategy currently helps the company to satisfy global demand and manage increasing climate variability that creates supply challenges,” said Serra.

In FY23, SunRice leveraged strong Australian rice crops to target new opportunities in drought-affected markets like the US and Europe. It also re-entered premium rice tender markets in Asia, including Japan and Korea.

“The resulting strong performance meant that Australian rice growers were paid a record naturally determined paddy price last year. This historic record is testament to the strength and provenance of the SunRice brand and the strong sales volumes achieved in premium destination markets,” said Serra.

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