India Remains World’s Top Rice Exporter in 2021


India’s dominance as the world’s top rice exporter remains as it is expected to surpass its previous FY21 record of 17.72 million tonnes.

According to government figures, the world’s largest rice exporter sold nearly 11.79 million tonnes of the foodgrain in global markets from April to October of the current fiscal year. This is a 33% growth over the same period last year and includes both basmati and non-basmati varieties.

Despite logistics problems, India continued to grow its influence in Africa, Asia, and Europe, culminating in the world’s greatest proportion of rice commerce.

In the 2020-21 fiscal year, India’s non-Basmati rice exports were valued at USD 4796 million (Rs 35448 crore), with Basmati rice exports coming in second at USD 4018 million (Rs 29,849 crore). In terms of total shipments of aromatic long-grained rice from India in 2020-21, the top ten countries β€” Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Qatar, and Oman β€” account for over 80% of total shipments.

New Markets Emerge for Basmati Rice

Man in Orange Robe Holding Brown Woven Basket

Basmati rice is the major rice variety that is being exported by India. In terms of smell, taste, and flavor, Indian basmati rice is considered the best quality in the world. In addition to that, Indian basmati rice is the world’s longest, with an average length of 8.5 mm and they also have a low glycemic index, making it easier to digest.

In the last FY2020-2021, India had started to export small volumes of non-Basmati rice to countries in Latin America, and this year Latin American countries opened their doors for Basmati rice, which is a new market for India’s Basmati rice. This new market that opened for India will be a great fill-in for Iran, which is a major market that they had let go of due to challenges that they encountered with payment issues. Previously, Latin American countries imported their rice from the U.S., but they are now looking to trade with India.

New destinations and an increase in demand for rice in Africa and Asia have also contributed to rising India’s rice export.

The data revealed that nine nations, including Timor-Leste, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Eswatini, Myanmar, and Nicaragua, had either previously received lower volume supplies of rice or were new recipients of the grain.

Rice Demand Continues to Soar Amid the Pandemic

In anticipation of expected logistics challenges due to the Covide-19 pandemic, countries have now increased their demand for the shipment of rice to ensure food security. India continues to support the global market for rice by ensuring a steady supply with prices still competitively lower than other rice exporters. With the increase in demand but due to having a lower yield due to unseasonal rains, prices for rice have increased even though the quality has also become lower. Basmati rice prices in the world market had jumped up to 20-40% even though quality has been reported to be lower by 15-20%.

To ensure that India will continue to be the top world rice exporter, their zonal agricultural office has started encouraging the cultivation of new rice varieties in some areas in India as this might result in higher yields than the previous variety. With India’s continued efforts in research and innovation in rice cultivation, they might be able to produce better quality rice and a better yield despite the erratic weather brought about by climate change β€” the biggest challenge for all rice producers in the world. If India continues to support their program for agriculture and become successful in cultivating a better yielding variety of rice, it will definitely still be the unrivaled rice exporter in the world for the years to come.