MALAWI/ZIMBABWE – The Indian government has authorized the export of 2,000 tonnes of non-basmati white rice to Malawi and Zimbabwe through National Cooperative Exports Limited (NCEL), the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has revealed.

Though exports of non-basmati white rice have been banned since July 20, 2023, to boost domestic supply, exports are allowed on the basis of permission granted by the government to certain countries on request to meet their food security needs.

Malawi is a landlocked country in south-eastern Africa, while Zimbabwe is a South African nation.

According to the notification, exports of 1,000 tonnes of non-basmati rice were allowed to each country.

Exports of non-basmati white rice to Malawi and Zimbabwe though NCEL is notified,” the DGFT said.

This approach by the Indian authorities toward supplying these two African countries comes a few months after India had earlier also allowed such exports to countries like Nepal, Cameroon, Cote D’ Ivore, Guinea, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Seychelles.

India accounts for 40% of global rice trade with a list of outlets that includes more than 150 countries. 

However, since September 2022, the country has applied restrictions on several categories of cereal demanded on the international market to control domestic price surges.

In addition, the country imposed a 20% tax on shipments of parboiled rice and a floor price of US$950 applies to each tonne of basmati rice sold abroad.

All these moves were meant to slow down shipments and allay any fear of short supply in the domestic market, although there had been only a marginal increase in retail prices of rice in the past year.

The Rice Exporters Association (TREA), however, argues that these prospects could further fuel the rise in global cereal prices and fuel concerns in several regions of the world that depend on Indian cereals, including Africa

According to data from the TradeMap platform compiled by the Ecofin Agency, the region spent 2022, US$3.9 billion on importing 11 million tonnes of milled rice from the Asian country. 

This volume represents nearly 70% of the continent’s total purchases, which annually exceed 16 million tonnes and 27% of its consumption (40 million tonnes).

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