Potential Indian rice export ban: Domestic market may not be affected

The reaction comes as India, the world's biggest rice shipper, is considering banning exports of most varieties.

Sohel Parvez

Sohel Parvez

The Daily Star


July 14, 2023

DHAKA – It is unlikely for Bangladesh to face any immediate problem if India bans rice exports thanks to ample food stocks in public storages and good harvests in immediate past two crop seasons, said food ministry officials and a rice importer yesterday.

The reaction comes as India, the world’s biggest rice shipper, is considering banning exports of most varieties, Reuters reported citing Bloomberg News yesterday.

The government is discussing a plan to ban exports of all non-Basmati rice, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter, according to Reuters.

“We do not see any challenge for the time being. Up until now we have a good stock and domestic production was good,” said Md Shakhawat Hossain, director general of the Directorate General of Food.

The food directorate had a stock of 19 lakh tonnes of foodgrains in its storage as of July 12.

It is the highest amount of food stock till date, said another food official.

Rice production estimate for the full fiscal year (FY) of 2022-23 is yet to be released by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

Total production might rise 5 per cent to 4 crore tonnes in fiscal year 2022-23 if estimates of the dry Boro season rice by the Department of Agricultural Extension is taken into account.

The DAE estimates Bangladesh’s production of Boro, which account for most of the output of rice, to be 2.18 crore tonnes, the highest in history, up 8 per cent year-on-year.

Chitta Majumder, managing director of the Majumder Group of Industries, which imports rice from India apart from procuring paddy from the domestic market, said farmers had a good harvest.

And along with imports, there is enough availability of the cereal in the domestic market, he said.

“So, prices are unlikely to increase here now,” he said.

Besides, the import tariff is around 62 per cent now. At this rate, none will import rice as imported rice will not be competitive at this tariff, he said.

Bangladesh’s private sector mainly imports rice from India.

Majumder said prices of rice which they had imported earlier grew in India in the recent period.

In Dhaka city, retail prices of the grain remained unchanged for the last one month, according to market prices data compiled by the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh imported 7 per cent more rice year-on-year, totalling 10.55 lakh tonnes, in fiscal year 2022-23, according to food ministry data.

Private importers brought 421,000 tonnes and the government the rest to build up food stocks to carry out various public food distribution programmes.

A senior food ministry official said they have no contract with India now regarding supply of rice and wheat.

The Directorate General of Food imported 100,000 tonnes of rice from the neighbouring country, the official added.

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