BIG BUYER: Iraq, which imports most of its rice, is a significant player in the global market. Until late 2010 it purchased up to 15 percent of its total needs from the United States.
NEW MARKETS: Iraq has been buying rice from Asia and South America lately, and it recently lowered its quality standards so it would be able to buy rice from India. It also recently imported rice from Uruguay, which grows a variety similar to the American one but sold for less.
TOUGH TIMES: Iraq had accounted for about 2 percent to 5 percent of U.S. sales each year. But U.S. farmers, facing rising production costs, shrinking export markets and dropping prices, are furious Iraq has stopped.