How Dependent Is the World on Indian Rice Exports?

tendata blogTrade Policy

ten data blog04-02-2024

Rice is the most consumed food globally, with 500 million tons consumed annually.


According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), global rice prices are at their highest level in 15 years.


India announced on July 20, 2023 that it would immediately stop exports of non-basmati white rice, leading to a surge in exports. The decision came days after Russia ceased its participation in the Black Sea Food Initiative, leading to an increase in global food commodity prices.


Traders say the rice shortage will have a ripple effect on wheat, soybeans, corn and corn, which are used as rice substitutes.


In this infographic series, Al Jazeera charts India's rise to become the world's largest rice exporter and the countries most dependent on Indian rice exports.


indian rice exports,rice exports,indian rice export



How Much Water Is Used for Rice?

The practice of growing rice in paddy fields is believed to have originated along the Yangtze River in central China around 8,000 BC and then spread to India and other parts of Asia.


Rice is the third most produced cereal in the world, after corn and wheat, and usually takes 90 to 200 days to grow, depending on the variety and environmental conditions.


There are thousands of varieties of rice around the world, each with different grain sizes, shapes, colors, textures and cooking characteristics.


Rice is one of the most water-intensive crops to grow, typically requiring 3,000 to 5,000 liters of water per kilogram of crop, about three times the amount needed to grow wheat.


India imposed the export ban to control domestic prices and as a precautionary measure against warming El Niño weather, which can cause droughts that can lead to lower yields and even crop failures.



India Is the World's Largest Rice Exporter

Cheap domestically produced rice has made India the world's largest rice exporter, accounting for nearly 40 percent of total rice exports, which are expected to reach 54 million tons in the 2022-2023 crop year.


India's 20.5 million tons of refined rice exports in 2023 are almost 2.5 times the 8.5 million tons of Thailand, the second largest exporter. Thailand is followed by Vietnam (7.9 million tons), Pakistan (3.6 million tons) and the United States (2.1 million tons).


India has dominated rice exports over the past decade, partly due to low local prices and high domestic stocks, which have allowed the country to offer rice at discounted prices.



Who Buys Indian Rice?

Data from India's Directorate General of Business Intelligence and Statistics (DGBS) show that between January and July 2023, India exported about 12.9 million tons of rice to at least 150 countries, valued at nearly $7 billion.


Three-fourths (77%) of India's rice exports are non-basmati rice, while the remaining one-fourth (23%) is basmati rice.


The West African country of Benin purchased the largest quantity of Indian non-basmati rice at 1.17 million tons in 2023, followed by Senegal (872,080 tons) and Kenya (685,302 tons).


Eight of the top 10 export destinations for Indian rice are African countries, which mainly import broken rice, the cheapest and most satiating variety.


India's top buyers of basmati rice in 2023 are Saudi Arabia (639,150 tons), Iran (545,751 tons) and Iraq (383,687 tons).


Following the ban imposed by India, the United States Department of Agriculture ( USDA ) has lowered its global rice trade forecast for 2023 and 2024, with the organization stating that trade in refined rice is expected to be 52.9 million tonnes in 2024, a decrease of 3.44 million tonnes from the previous year. Forecast.


The ban has had a knock-on effect on the prices of other rice varieties, and high rice prices are unlikely to abate in the short term. Any possible recovery in rice trade next year would require India to lift its export restrictions, FAO said.


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