World rice trade would grow 5.6% in 2021: FAO

FAO forecasts that world rice trade will expand 5.6% in 2021, to 48.0 million tonnes.

Rice is the main staple food of about half of the world’s population.

Although grown in more than 100 countries and on almost every continent, 90% of the world’s rice is grown and consumed in Asia.

Globally, rice is the most important crop in terms of its contribution to the human diet and the value of production.

There are three main types of rice: short-grain, medium-grain, and long-grain rice.

From FAO’s perspective, a reactivation of Asian purchases and strong demand for imports from Africa appear to support the expansion on the import side; while on the supply side, much of the growth is expected to be captured by an expansion in Indian sales.

Assuming normal growing conditions, FAO projects that world rice production will expand 1.0% in 2021, to an all-time high of 519.1 million tonnes.

The FOA also predicts that Asia will sustain this growth, as strong government support for the sector in the region may ease pressure from higher input costs and increased competition from other crops.

World rice trade

At the same time, FAO forecasts that West African countries and Australia will produce more, while poor weather or less attractive margins will likely cause production to stagnate or contract elsewhere.

According to the FAO, there would be little growth in world rice trade by 2022, as continued strong demand from Africa and the Near East may be insufficient to compensate for reduced purchases in the Far East.

Global rice utilization is projected to reach a record 520.6 million tonnes in 2021/22, an increase of 1.4% year-on-year, mainly due to expanding food use, but also increasing use of rice as food.

At a forecast level of 184.6 million tonnes, global rice inventories at the close of the 2021/22 marketing years are considered only marginally above their opening levels, as accumulations in major rice exporters, as well as in Bangladesh and Indonesia can be largely offset by another reduction in China.


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