AS THE nation continues to face the possibility of being all out of rice by Christmas, SunRice holds plenty of positivity for the 2021 season.
The business recently held its annual general meeting, done so by virtual means in 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Chief executive officer Rob Gordon also provided an update on the company's current financial position at the meeting.
In the 2020 financial year, the SunRice group delivered revenue of $1.13 billion and net profit after tax of $22.7 million, down five per cent and 31 per cent year-on-year respectively.
"While the group is continuing to face significant challenges and headwinds, we are focused on utilising our strong balance sheet to pursue key initiatives in our 2022 Growth Strategy and to drive increased value for both A and B Class Shareholders," Mr Gordon said.
"To deliver our FY2020 results in the context of a 91 per cent reduction in production in the Riverina between 2018 and 2019, as well as a range of challenges including negative foreign exchange impacts, deteriorating conditions in key markets and COVID-19, highlights the strength and resilience of the SunRice group's business model."
With planting of 2021 rice crops scheduled to start next month, SunRice is confident yields will grow.
In July, SunRice announced an initial offer of fixed price contracts for limited volumes of key varietals for the 2021 Riverina crop year.
The pricing for the contracts was $475 per tonne for medium grain Reiziq, $525 per tonne for Doongara and $625 per tonne for Koshihikari.
The contract offers opened on July 29 and were "strongly supported by growers", with the volume being fully subscribed on August 3 and subsequently closed that day.
Despite the 2019 and 2020 crop sizes, which at 54,000 paddy tonnes and 45,000 paddy tonnes were the third and second-smallest on record, Mr Gordon was hopeful of significantly increased production in the Riverina in 2021.
There has been increased rainfall and inflows into key storages in recent months, which has improved water availability, and the weather outlook remains positive ahead of the October planting window.
"We are optimistic of significantly increased plantings in the Riverina later this year, following the extremely small crops harvested in 2019 and 2020, with seasonal conditions, water availability and water pricing continuing to improve," he said.
"We were pleased with the strong response from growers to our initial offer of fixed price contracts.
"We are also pleased to have been able to announce the availability of a pool for the 2021 Riverina rice season."