India to Consider Importing Rice from Thailand,Vietnam

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Nov. 19 – India is considering importing rice from Thailand and Vietnam to supplement the low kharif crop despite currently having surplus grains.

This will be the first time in two decades that India will need to import rice to meet its own needs. The kharif rice crop is forecast to be low this year by as much as 18 percent or 69.45 million tons because of the poor monsoon.

“We have started the rice season, which began in October, with surplus stocks. Even for wheat, the government has surplus stocks. Since there is a projection that there would be some shortfall in the kharif crop, to make it up we may have to make some imports, but exactly what quantum and at what point of time we will decide later,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was quoted by The Times of India as saying.

The poor monsoon has affected food grain leading prices for basic items such as potato to rise by 100 percent. State-run trading houses have begun receiving bids for global tenders to import an estimated 30,000 tons of rice priced from US$373 to US$599 per ton.

India is the second largest producer of white rice in the world. Rice is considered a staple in the country and an important aspect of the economy.