The 2021 rice export forecast for India has been raised to a new record of 17.0 million tonnes, nearly triple the next largest exporter, Vietnam, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its latest monthly report.
India hit a new monthly export record in March of nearly 2.5 million tonnes, resulting in over 6 million tonnes shipped in the first quarter of 2021.
India’s export growth has been a result of stronger demand from its neighbours and from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the emergence of new buyers such as China and Vietnam, the report said.
Bangladesh is currently the top export destination for India, importing nearly 900,000 tonnes in the first quarter of 2021. The government there lowered its import tariff on rice to curb high domestic prices, the report said, adding imports are now forecast to reach 1.5 million tonnes in 2021, up from only 20,000 tonnes in 2020
Imports by Nepal are also set to rise on growing demand. India’s exports have expanded to Senegal and several other African countries on competitive prices.
In addition, China recently granted India access for non-basmati rice. China began importing rice from India for the first time in decades, reaching nearly 300,000 tons in the first quarter. In the same period, India even exported nearly 250,000 tonnes to Vietnam, the world’s second largest rice supplier.
According to the USDA, India rice exports have been supported by large supplies and successive bumper crops, the world’s most competitive pricing, and improved export infrastructure capable of shipping rice in bulk.
“Meanwhile, major suppliers like Vietnam and Thailand have had reduced supplies and strong domestic demand. These countries have also faced worldwide container shortages, creating delays and driving up costs,” the report pointed out
India has increased export capacity by using deep water ports where exporters can take advantage of shipping in bulk. For 2022, India is forecast to have abundant supplies while its exports are expected to decline moderately to 15.5 million tonnes, mostly on lower demand from Bangladesh.