India does not plan to curb rice exports as the world’s biggest exporter of the staple has sufficient stocks and local rates are lower than state-set support prices, trade and government sources said.
India banned wheat exports on May 14, just days after New Delhi forecast record shipments of 10 million tonnes this year, as a heat wave hit output and sent domestic prices to record highs.
“We have more than sufficient stocks of rice and there is no concern at all in terms of either prices or availability for exports and domestic requirements,” said a senior government official involved in the decision making.
“At this stage, there is no consideration at all to prohibit rice exports,” said the source, who didn’t wish to be named in line with official rules.
Rice exports from India, also the world’s second biggest consumer of the grain, jumped to a record 21.2 million tonnes in the fiscal year to March 2022 from 17.8 million tonnes the previous year.
Rice prices are falling, even as exports rise, as India has massive stocks and local purchases by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) – the state stockpiler – are increasing, said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the All India Rice Exporters Association.
Milled and rice paddy stocks at FCI totalled 66.22 million tonnes against a target of 13.58 million tonnes.
“There is no need to put any restriction on rice exports,” Rao said. “Wheat output and prices were affected due to the war in Ukraine, but … the Black Sea region is neither a major producer nor consumer of rice.”
India’s rice export prices extended losses this week to touch $350 to $354 a tonne, the lowest in more than five years.
In the crop year to June 2022, India’s rice output jumped to a record 129.66 million tonnes from 121.1 million tonnes the previous year.
Higher output has forced FCI to buy more rice from domestic farmers, taking a record 80.4 million tonnes of rice paddy from growers so far this year against 77 million tonnes over the same period last year.
“FCI’s procurement is going up, and that is an indication that there’s no shortage, so there is no logic for any ban on rice exports,” Rao said.
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