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May 2024

Global Rice Shortage: Unraveling the Impact of India’s Export Ban

In a twist of events, the global rice market is grappling with an unprecedented shortage, now touted as the most severe in twenty years. This crisis has been significantly heightened by India’s enactment of an export ban on certain rice varieties. Accounting for a staggering 40% of the global rice market, India’s export constraints on broken rice, followed by a 20% duty on some exports that kicked off in September 2022, have had far-reaching implications.

India’s Export Ban: A Double-Edged Sword

Initially, the export ban extended only to broken rice. However, by July 2023, it had widened to include plain white long grain rice. The primary intention behind these measures was to safeguard domestic food security and temper local prices for consumers. Paradoxically, these actions have reverberated across the globe, causing ripples in rice-importing nations, particularly those nestled in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Global Rice Prices Skyrocket

The fallout of India’s export ban has been a sharp 15-20% spike in global rice prices. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, this has pushed prices to a 12-year high. The crisis has left the food security of developing nations hanging in the balance, creating considerable difficulties for rice-dependent populations.

The Plight of U.S. Rice Farmers

The current rice shortage does not stop at the dining tables of developing nations. It extends to the verdant rice paddies of the United States. American rice farmers find themselves caught in a quagmire of volatile prices and escalating input costs. These challenges are in stark contrast to the global market prices for rice. To alleviate some of the burden, the U.S. Congress has stepped in, sanctioning a $250 million supplemental funding to support the beleaguered farmers.

The ongoing scenario in the global rice market has far-reaching implications. It is reshaping trade relationships, stoking concerns around food affordability, and affecting the livelihoods of millions of rice farmers worldwide. Amid the tumult, the FAO’s cereals price index fell by 15.4 percent, mirroring a well-supplied global market compared to the previous year. However, rice prices have surged by 21 percent, fueled by the El Nino weather phenomenon and India’s export restrictions. QR Code

Published Date: January 14, 2024

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