Rice: India establishes itself as Africa’s leading supplier

Indian rice is in the process of replacing Thai rice in Africa. It is exported like never before this year despite delays caused by Covid.

Small revolution in the world’s rice trade. Africa, which mainly imported its rice from Thailand, is turning more and more to India, which will be its main supplier this year. India has overtaken Thailand for a few years in terms of exports, but so far the two countries have followed each other closely and Thai rice has retained the favor of African buyers.

Thai exports down 30%

This year, Thailand’s middle crop collapsed due to drought. The Asian kingdom has withdrawn from its domestic market and therefore Thai rice has become very expensive internationally. Thailand’s exports have fallen by 30% this year, estimates CIRAD economist Patricio Mendez del Villar. As for Vietnamese rice, its price has swelled since the Hanoi authorities’ threat to impose an embargo on exports in order to preserve Vietnamese consumption in light of a minor harvest in the Mekong region and the containment of the population.

Cheapest Indian rice in the world

Indian rice is therefore the cheapest in the world: $ 360 per. Ton compared to 460 to 470 for Thai and Vietnamese rice. “The price difference is unusual,” stresses Mamadou Ciss, Alliance Commodities. From the smallest to the largest retailers “we are rushing to Indian rice replacing Thai rice … Senegal has bought a lot. Guinea, buy Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia…. In July alone, a lean period in Africa, India exported 1.4 tonnes to the continent, ”CIRAD emphasizes.

Africa, two-thirds of Indian non-basmati rice exports

Mainly parboiled rice, such as Thai rice. But also milled rice from Indian government reserves, a gigantic stock of 34 million tons. Traffic is prohibited but normal. India has never interrupted the loading of boats despite Covid, stresses broker Jean-Pierre Brun, even though the delays were longer because the operations are still performed manually. The heavy rains now falling on the Indian coast are yet to slow the pace of shipments by the end of the year, but India is expected to export no less than 12 million tonnes of rice this year, twice as much. than Thailand, including 44% to Africa during the Indian fiscal year (April 2020 to March 2021), 65% even emphasize CIRAD if we exclude basmati rice.

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