In August, world rice prices increased by 9.8% compared to the previous month, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Friday (8 September). This is the highest price for fifteen years, says the FAO.
The reason is not the drop in stocks: “Global rice stocks at the end of the 2023-2024 marketing years are still expected to reach their highest level on record” after a 1.4% increase from 2022-2023, according to the agency. Nearly three quarters of this volume should be held by China and India.
The cause of the increase is to be found in Indian domestic politics. On July 20, New Delhi banned the export of non-basmati white rice (about a quarter of its usual rice exports), in order to keep enough of this product for the consumption of its inhabitants and to limit inflation in the market. interior.
However, India provides 40% of the world rice trade and sells broken rice to Africa, particularly to Senegal, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Benin, as well as to Asia (Pakistan, Philippines ) and in the Middle East (Turkey, Syria). A 20% export tax on parboiled rice has also been introduced. The country would also consider lowering customs duties on wheat, in order to facilitate the import of this cereal.
States tempted by the conservation of stocks
World rice prices were already at the end of July “up 30% year-on-year”had reminded Agence France-Presse, Patricio Mendez del Villar, rice specialist and economist at the Center for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research for Development.
While waiting for the new harvests, in the face of “uncertainties as to the duration of the ban” decided by India and the “fears that export restrictions will be extended to other types of rice”the global rice market has tightened, the FAO said.
Many States and actors have chosen to “keep inventory”of “renegotiate contracts” or“stop making price offers”, the UN agency said in a statement. To deal with the situation, the Philippines will sign an agreement with Vietnam to secure their rice imports for five years, said the Vietnamese government on Thursday (September 7th).
Global food prices as a whole fell slightly last month (−2.1% compared to July), pulled down by lower prices for cereals, vegetable oils, meat and dairy products.
The World with AFP