Agri Business

Rice exports jump 52% in Apr-May

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on August 11, 2020 Published on August 11, 2020

Panic buying to secure food supplies aiding shipments, say exporters

Non-basmati rice exports are seen rebounding this year as the shipments have begun on a strong note registering over 52 per cent growth in the first two months of the current financial year.

Strong demand from traditional buyers in Africa and likely panic buying by some countries even as the Covid-19 pandemic tightened its grip across the world during this period fuelled the rice shipments, exporters said.

Shipments during April-May this year stood at 11.13 lakh tonnes as against 7.3 lakh in the same period last year, according to DGCIS’ latest figures. In value terms, the exports were up 63 per cent at ₹3,429 crore as compared to ₹2,097 crore. In dollar value, the shipments were up 56 per cent at $452 million as compared to $289 million recorded in the same period last year.

“There is a rebound in exports of non-basmati rice,” said BV Krishna Rao, President, The Rice Exporters Association. Rao attributed the spurt in shipments to the rebound in demand from traditional buyers in the African region and also to the factors such as favourable currency, the availability stocks and competitive pricing of the Indian cereal.

Growth in shipment

“Countries could have bought more rice during this period to secure their food supplies as the Covid-19 pandemic was tightening its gripped around the world. Such panic buying could be attributed to around 10 per cent growth in shipments during this period,” Rao said.

Apart from African nations and Nepal, the non-basmati rice shipments has picked up in Malaysia, Philippines and Russia, among other countries.

India, the second-largest producer of rice, has been the largest exporter of the cereal after shipments of non-basmati were allowed from 2011. However, the non-basmati rice shipments had witnessed a decline in the past two years after the Indian cereal had turned expensive. However, with Asian players such as Thailand and Vietnam facing supply issues, Indian rice has turned competitive in recent months. “We are at least 10 per cent lower than Thai parboiled rice,” Rao said, adding that if demand from Bangladesh picks up, the shipments could rise to 2017-18 levels.


The steady growth in rice production has been aiding the exports. From around 96 million tonnes in 2010-11, rice production is seen touching an all-time high of 117.94 million tonnes in 2019-20. In the ongoing kharif season, rice planting has been higher by 17 per cent at 321 lakh ha till August 7.

The basmati shipments during April-May were marginally up in volumes at 8.74 lakh tonnes (8.64 lakh tonnes in the same period last year). However, in value terms, the shipments registered a decline at ₹5,970 crore (₹6,488 crore) due to weak pricing.

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Published on August 11, 2020
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