MADAGASCAR-The  government of Madagascar has requested the Indian ambassador Bandaru Wilsonbab, to obtain tax exemption for the importation of 200,000 tons of rice from the Asian country.

The request comes barely months after the Indian government imposed a 20% customs duty for sales of different qualities of rice ((non-basmati, paddy rice, brown rice, non-parboiled rice) for importers.

India is the world’s second-largest rice producer and the leading supplier to the African market. In such a context, the trade policies adopted by the Asian giant and concerning the sector, have implications for the continent.  

India provides almost 80% of Madagascar’s external supplies. In 2021, India exported rice to Madagascar worth US$150 Million during, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.

This was necessary to secure supply of the commodity for the country where average annual rice consumption of about 136 kg per person, which is among the highest in the world.

For the Malagasy people, rice is their staple food, and it is the center of their food culture. Most of them eat rice three times a day. In the morning as a potage, for lunch and dinner with meat or vegetables.

To ensure a sufficient supply of the important commodity, the government through the ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Consumer Affairs has requested the Indian government for tax exemption.

The exemption would cover the already requested batch of 200,000 tons of rice but it is yet to be received in the country.

“This exemption provision should relate to the import of 200,000 tons of Indian rice which is already made, but which has not yet arrived in Madagascar”, read the press release.

As the Malagasy people struggle to secure enough supply for their huge appetite, forecasts predict a better crop in the 2022/23 market year.

“This exemption provision should relate to the import of 200,000 tons of Indian rice which is already made, but which has not yet arrived in Madagascar

According to GIEWS Country Brief, for a second consecutive year, rice (paddy) production in Madagascar 2022 is estimated at an above‑average level of 4.6 million tonnes.

This, according to the bried, mostly reflects conducive weather conditions in the country’s key rice producing central and northern regions.

“Weather forecasts for the December‑2022 to March 2023 period point to an increased likelihood of above‑average rainfall amounts throughout the country, underpinned by the ongoing La Niña event,” the report noted.

“These forecasts portend to generally beneficial conditions for the 2023 cereal crops for the remainder of the season.”

Reflecting the above‑average paddy crop harvested in 2022, industry experts are confident that national supplies are estimated to be satisfactory during the 2022/23 marketing year (April/March).

With a better crop compared to the previous year, GIEWS indicated that import requirements of rice are estimated to decline slightly to a below‑average level of 540 000 tonnes.

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