Port of Lake Charles ships rice to conflict-ridden areas of Africa

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 9:47 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The port of Lake Charles is moving Louisiana rice to help feed areas of Central Africa that are in need.

Crews at the port have been packing bags of rice, weighing 110 pounds each, into the Tao Star cargo ship that will sail across the Atlantic to help some of the African countries facing conflict. More than 19,000 tons of rice are being shipped to Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic and Cameroon.

“Uhm, 19,356 tons of rice - .all the rice is locally grown, milled, and transported and will be loaded by Louisiana companies and workers,” said Therrance Chretien, director of cargo and trade development for the Port of Lake Charles.

This shipment is part of the World Food Program for a $55 million contract to help people in the conflict-ridden Sahel region of Africa.

“Since the conflict, this is our third vessel going into this region. And then we have another fourth scheduled after this one. Most of it was rice, but we did send some red beans and some peas and lentils to that region as well.”

Chretien said the food is going to two-and-a-half million people in Central Africa, some of whom have been displaced from their homes.

“We can relate to that in Southwest Louisiana, because less than a year ago, we had two hurricanes that displaced us from our homes. So, we know what it’s like to be unwillingly separated from your home.”

He adds this is the largest shipment of its type the port has handled for the U.S. government. It’s the largest rice shipment in the port.

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