Rice is one of the most important food crops in the world. It plays a crucial role in meeting the food needs of people around the world. Regions that have high humidity, prolonged sunshine, and an assured supply of water can grow rice. The average temperature required for growing rice ranges from 21 to 37 degrees Celsius. With high carbohydrate (starch) content, the staple food provides instant energy. The methods of cultivation of rice depend upon a variety of factors. The factors include the condition of the land, type of soil, irrigation facilities, availability of labor,r and distribution of rainfall.
Talking about rice exports, India is the top rice exporter in the world. Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan, the United States, and China are other rice-exporting nations. Asia with a 74.8% share leads the pack when it comes to exporting rice. Europe, North America, and Latin America hold a share of 9%, 7.8x%, and 7.3% respectively in the global rice trade.
In 2020, nearly 46 million tonnes of rice(USD 24.5 billion in value) were exported by nations around the world. In comparison to 2019, an increase of 1.3% was recorded in the worldwide rice export volume.
Global Rice Exports
Owing to hot and humid climatic conditions, Southern Asia is the most suitable region for rice production. This is why, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Myanmar are the largest rice producers and exporters in the world.
Other than these, the other major rice-producing and exporting nations are the United States, Italy, Cambodia, China, and Tanzania. With their own unique individual qualities, each nation qualifies as a leading rice exporting nation.
- India – India accounts for about 40% of the global rice trade and with its huge production capacity, the country leads the pack when it comes to exporting rice both in terms of value and volume. About 40% of India’s rice export constitutes basmati rice. Some countries in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE, Iraq, and Kuwait are the major importers of India’s basmati rice.
- Thailand – Thailand is the second-largest rice exporting country in terms of value but third-largest rice exporting country in terms of output. Thailand was the largest Rice Exporter in the world but was surpassed by India in 2012. With exports of 1.45 million tonnes p.a., Thailand is the largest exporter of jasmine rice. Thai rice is in high demand in the markets of the United States. Thailand also exports rice to China, Hong Kong, Canada, and Singapore.
- Vietnam – From 2009 until now, Vietnam’s rice export volume has reached 4 million tons annually with a peak at 8 million tons in 2012. According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam exported 6.25 million tons of rice in 2020, worth 3.12 billion USD. In comparison to 2019, the 2020 rice exports were down 1.8% in quantity but up 11.2% its value. The rice export trend seen in Vietnam is to reduce export volume and at the same time, increase the value, thus gradually focusing on high-end rice supply chains. Vietnam’s rice recorded a 19.1% increase in its export price, reaching $547 per tonne. The Philippines provides the largest import market of Vietnamese rice because the country accounts for more than 35% of the total rice exports from Vietnam. 12 % of Vietnam’s rice exports are to China.
- Pakistan – Pakistan is a rice exporting country of basmati and non-basmati rice. Pakistan’s basmati rice has a high export value so the price of basmati rice is double that of non-basmati rice. However, non-basmati rice exports account for 75-80% of Pakistan’s total exports. Sindh is the largest producer of rice in Pakistan, contributing to 39% of the nation’s total rice production quantity. The import destinations of the country’s basmati rice are the Middle East and the EU, in which the UAE was the largest importer in 2014 with 1,593 thousand tons. On the other hand, Kenya is the top importer of Pakistan’s non-basmati rice.
- The United States – The United States is ranked 5th in the list of the largest rice exporting countries in the world. The types of rice exported from the USA are mainly the high-value varieties demanded by the European markets such as rough rice, brown rice, parboiled rice, and fully-milled rice. Many countries in Latin America i.e. Mexico and Haiti mainly import rice from the U.S in large quantities per year. The Rice export price in the USA is around 530 USD/ton.
- China – In August 2022 China’s Rice exports accounted for up to $94.4M and imports accounted for up to $192M, resulting in a negative trade balance of $97.3M. Between August 2021 and August 2022 the exports of China’s Rice have increased by $31.1M (49.2%) from $63.3M to $94.4M, while imports increased by $50.2M (35.5%) from $142M to $192M. In 2020, China exported $1.14B in Rice, making it the 6th largest exporter of Rice in the world.
Rice is the primary staple for more than half the world’s population, especially in the Asian and African continents, and many of the countries in the regions rely heavily on importing rice. Asia is the largest rice importing region — largely due to China’s use of broken rice in animal feed — followed by Africa, where Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Senegal are the top three importing countries. Middle Eastern countries also are also the major buyers of rice.
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