As India imposes ban on rice exports, Indian Americans queue up to buy rice bags


Our Bureau


There are reports of Indian Americans buying dozens of rice bags fearing shortage amid a ban by the Indian government on the export of non-Basmati rice varieties. The ban has triggered panic buying in North America, Europe and West Asia over a possible shortage of rice. This, in turn, has led to long queues outside Indian grocery stores in the region.

The prominent Indian grocery stores in major cities including Texas, Michigan and New Jersey are crowded with people, mostly the Telugu population. These stores have also put in place a few restrictions on sales saying only one rice bag per customer would be sold.

In Alabama and Illinois, the situation is somewhat better. During the pandemic, the prices skyrocketed. There might be a shortage or no supply of fine variety rice like Sona Mahsuri and there is every possibility of jacking up of prices.

India accounts for 40% of world rice exports, which climbed to multi-year highs in recent weeks as erratic weather threatens production.

Global demand saw Indian exports of non-basmati white rice jump 35% Y-on-Y in the second quarter. Countries expected to be hit by the ban include African nations, Turkey, Syria, and Pakistan – already struggling with high food-price inflation. Buyers of Indian non-basmati rice include Benin, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Togo, Guinea, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

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