Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - India transforms into global rice exporting hub thanks to Covid

India transforms into global rice exporting hub thanks to Covid

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
India exported 17.5 million metric tonnes (mmt) of rice between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, says All India Rice Exporters Association executive director Vinod Kaul. AFP

India transforms into global rice exporting hub thanks to Covid

India has emerged as a major global player in rice export during the past 20 months. Part of its credit goes to the Covid-19 pandemic, because of which other major rice exporting countries failed to meet world demand, as India took the opportunity to export more rice worldwide.

The steep growth of the rice exports can be attributed to the fact that India’s exports during fiscal year 2021 ended March 31 registered a 112 per cent increase – the highest ever growth since India started exporting rice.

The situation is equally encouraging for fiscal year 2022 – from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 – where rice exports logged a 72 per cent rise in the first four months against the corresponding period last year.

If rice exporters are to be believed, India could have exported much more than the current figure, had there not been an acute shortage of containers, and rice in ocean and inland freight.

The exponential rise in export is despite the fact that Indian exporters had to face a series of hurdles including steep rice in container freight, transport freight and other handling charges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, admitted All India Rice Exporters Association executive director Vinod Kaul.

“If we talk of 2020-21, India exported 13 million metric tonnes [mmt] non-basmati rice and around 4.5mmt basmati rice – which comes to around 17.5mmt rice. It is more than 37 per cent of the total world export [47 MMT],” he said.

There are mainly four major rice exporting countries, India, Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan. In the last fiscal year, India’s rice exports were more than the cumulative exports of the other three major exporting countries – Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan.

India has performed exceptionally well during the adverse situation caused by the Covid-19 crisis. “The workers were rarely available, containers were hardly available, the inland ocean freight almost doubled in some cases. Still, we made it happen,” said one rice exporter.

Thailand and Vietnam have an additional advantage, their rice-producing areas are near to the sea, so inland freight is almost negligible.

In India, however, rice-producing states, mainly Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and part of Jammu, all are far away from major ports. “This resulted in heavy inland costs, and we became less competitive price-wise,” Kaul said.

Another issue is that some of the rice exporting countries like Bangladesh and China have become importing countries due to low production, trends that have further aggravated demand for the staple in the international market.

THE STATESMAN (INDIA)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • South Korea’s first lady brings hope to ill boy

    South Korea’s first lady Kim Keon-hee – wife of current president of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol – met with a 14-year-boy with congenital heart disease during her trip to the Kingdom for the ASEAN Summit. After their meeting it was announced that the

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol