Indians in US, Canada stock up rice after govt bans export | World News - Hindustan Times
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Hoarding game! Indians in US and Canada stock up rice after govt bans export, long queues outside grocery stores

ByAdarsh Kumar Gupta
Jul 23, 2023 12:52 PM IST

However, interestingly, Basmati rice which doesn't fall under the ban is also being hoarded by the people.

Government of India's decision to ban export of non-basmati rice has triggered a hoarding race among Indian-Americans. According to several tweets going viral on social media, Indians living in US are rushing to ‘panic buy’ white rice.

Government of India's decision to ban export of non-basmati rice has triggered a hoarding race among Indian-Americans.(Twitter)
Government of India's decision to ban export of non-basmati rice has triggered a hoarding race among Indian-Americans.(Twitter)

However, interestingly, Basmati rice which doesn't fall under the ban is also being hoarded by the people. Probably, Indian-Americans are buying huge quantities under the wrong assumption that Basmati rice has also been banned. Or there is a possibility that they might be expecting an export ban on Basmati rice too in near future, causing them to take a precautionary measure. The bulk buying is leading to black marketing of Basmati rice in the US, at high prices.

The Indian government clarified that parboiled rice, which represented 7.4 million tons of exports in 2022, was not included in the ban.

Highlighting the problem, a Twitter user took a dig at the IQ level of some Indian-Americans and wrote: "So all the desi stores are out of Indian rice. Every NRI family has bought 10-15 bags of rice because India has blocked export of “non-basmati” rice. Therefore high IQ NRIs have hoarded 100-200kgs of basmati rice per family. And few are now selling it on FB marketplace".

Another Twitter user pointed to the affluence of Indian-American community in the US as they are able to buy such huge quantity of Basmati rice which is considered a premium product.

"A lot of WhatsApp University forwards are like "life is very difficult in America and Canada" and yeah, not minimizing immigrant struggles, but let's take a step back and note what a moment of collective affluence this is. We are having a run on Basmati rice! A premium product!," tweeted the user.

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Notably, On Thursday, India put a ban "with immediate effect" on the export of non-basmati white rice (Semi-milled or wholly milled rice, whether or not polished or glazed). The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said, “In order to ensure adequate availability of non-basmati white rice in the Indian market and to allay the rise in prices in the domestic market, Government of India has amended the Export Policy of the above variety from ‘Free with export duty of 20%’ to ‘Prohibited’ with immediate effect.”

India's move was done to curtail the price rise of non-basmati white rice at home. According to the ministry, "retail prices have increased by 11.5% over a year and 3% over the past month".

In September 2022, India had imposed an export duty of 20% on the commodity but despite it, the export of non-basmati white rice increased from 33.66 LMT (Sept-March 2021-22) to 42.12 LMT (Sept-March 2022-23) which ultimately affected prices and availability locally in India.

Indian Government has not made any change in the export policy of non-basmati rice (par boiled rice) and basmati rice. India which fulfils 40% of the rice needs across the world and non-basmati white and broken rice, accounted for around 10 million tons of a total of 22 million tons of Indian rice exports last year. The buyers are expected to move to Thailand and Vietnam, but their 5% broken rice could cost $600 per metric ton.

"India would disrupt the global rice market with far greater velocity than Ukraine did in the wheat market with Russia's invasion," B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association told Reuters.

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