Nearly two months ago, India banned exports of non-basmati white rice, stoking fears of a world food crisis amid tight grain supplies caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Retail prices have increased by 11.5% over a year and 3% over a month.
Non-basmati white rice constitutes about 25% of total Indian rice exports. The Indian decision was viewed with extra alarm as it came on the heels of Russia pulling out of the Black Sea grain initiative.
With India accounting for 40% of global rice trade in 2022, the worries over more missing grain in the food supply chain are valid. The value of Indian rice exports in its financial year 2022-23 (April-March) was $6.3bn for non-basmati and $4.7bn for basmati.
About 63% of its total 4.55 million tonnes of basmati exports went to five top Middle East buyers: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Benin, China, Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Togo were top non-basmati buyers. These five countries accounted for about 34% of India's non-basmati export volumes of 17.78 million tonnes in 2022-23.