Govt may curb export of rice to maintain ‘food security’

Published on Aug 27, 2022 03:08 PM IST

The proposal being weighed by the ministries of commerce and food talks of banning the export of white broken rice, officials said

Jabalpur: Farm workers plant paddy saplings in a field during the monsoon season, on the outskirts of Jabalpur, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. (PTI Photo) (PTI08_24_2022_000234A) (PTI)
Jabalpur: Farm workers plant paddy saplings in a field during the monsoon season, on the outskirts of Jabalpur, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. (PTI Photo) (PTI08_24_2022_000234A) (PTI)

New Delhi: India is considering restricting the export of rice to maintain its “national food security” following an anticipated drop in kharif or summer-sown paddy output due to a poor monsoon in key producer states and to put a lid on cereal prices, an official aware of the development said.

The proposal being weighed by the ministries of commerce and food talks of banning the export of white broken rice, the person said, adding that other varieties as well as premium basmati rice will continue to be exported.

Poor rains will also crimp yields, prompting a late switch by many farmers to other crops in rice-growing states where rainfall was deficient. The government is considering banning export of white broken rice only because that will be sufficient to ensure domestic demand is met adequately and global demand for this variety of rice is estimated to be high due to drought in many parts of the world, the person quoted above said.

Unlike wheat, India is a major exporter of rice. In 2021-22, the country exported nearly 22 million tonne of rice, about a sixth of its total output. India accounts for 40% of the world’s rice shipments.

A patchy monsoon has upended the country’s paddy crop in several states, such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand. The total area under paddy, the main summer staple, has shrunk by 7.6% to 36 million hectares compared to 39 million hectares sown last year at this time of the year, according to official estimates.

Prices of rice will rise above minimum support prices because of the expected lower production,” said Rahul Chauhan, an analyst with IGrain Pvt Ltd, a commodity-trading firm.

The country had banned private exports of wheat in May after a scorching early summer crimped wheat output by an estimated 2.5%

Despite forecast of a normal monsoon, summer rainfall, which waters nearly 60% of crops, was scanty or uneven in the paddy-growing states. Overall, the rain-bearing system has been 8% surplus between June 1 and August 26. However, states Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand have seen monsoon deficiencies of nearly 45%, 41%, 27% and 26% respectively.

As on August 1, the state-run Food Corporation of India had 41 million tonnes of milled and rice paddy stocks, while the buffer requirement for the season is 13.5 million tonnes. The government had earlier said that India has adequate cereal stocks to meet its food security needs.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Zia Haq reports on public policy, economy and agriculture. Particularly interested in development economics and growth theories.

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