At the early stage of rice production chain, transnational companies such as North-American Monsanto (the second largest seed provider and agrochemical supplier in the world ) strive to strengthen their position in seed and input markets.
For a long period of time, rice trading was exclusively a government affair (public contracts) and/or a family business (private Chinese exporters). It was mainly an intra-Asian trade.
- Beginning in the 1970s, transnational agribusiness firms developed rapidly. At one point they controlled 40 percent of the international rice trade.
- Today some of these firms have practically pulled out of the market or simply disappeared. Those who remain, with an increasingly important role in the market, include several companies based in Switzerland (Louis Dreyfus, Rustal and Novel all based in Geneva and Nidera based in Lausanne) and in North America (ADM and Rice Company, both based in the United States).
In Asia, the importance of private exporters has also grown. In Thailand, for example, private trading exportation has risen over the past ten years from 20 % to 80%. In Vietnam private negotiators have also appeared progressively following national economic reforms that took place in the 1990s.
As for the main Asiatic public organs which used to be in charge of international trade, they still manage large exportable stocks that they usually sell through private exporters. These exporters are in direct contact with private importers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The liberalization of the commercialization of production chains and the end of cereal import state monopolies have allowed for this transition to take place.