Indian rice exports could touch 20 million tonnes for the season, given that rice production is expected to cross 100 million tonnes during the kharif season of 2021-22, exporters have said.
“Kharif rice production has already been harvested November onwards and therefore, there is no issue of any major damage to the crop. Around 9 million tonnes of rice has already been exported till October, and exports continue to look good because food is a necessity,” Vinod Kaul, executive director, All India Rice Exporters Association, said.
Kaul said Basmati exports have been a little slow since prices for the variety have shot up this year due to the unseasonal rain in September. Prices are already up 20-35% since the supply of quality Basmati rice is down by almost 15-20% this year compared to the last kharif season, he said.
Last year when the Covid-19 wave was severe, exports continued and shall continue this time as well, he said. BV Krishna Rao, president, Rice Exporters Association, also affirmed that Indian rice exports are likely to touch 20 million tonnes this season, including 16 million tonnes of non-Basmati rice. “Last year, India had exported around 14 million tonnes of non-Basmati rice,” he said.
Rao said China continues to buy from India. Last year China bought one million tonnes, and the orders could be repeated this year. Bangladesh purchased around two million tonnes from India last year and could come back for good quantities in January.
Countries in north and west Africa are also are buying from India, with Benin leading in the purchases. Last fiscal, it bought 1.2 million tonnes of rice from India and the year before it purchased 0.54 million tonnes. West Asia, Far East and African markets continue to be lucrative buyers. This year, there have been enquiries from Latin America as well, exporters said.
Bangladesh is the top importer of Indian rice, buying 1.25 million tonnes during the period, followed by Benin and China. Exports to Bangladesh and China have already exceeded the total shipments made during the entire 2020-21 fiscal.