INDIA- According to data from the country’s farm ministry, Indian farmers have planted 28.3 million hectares (69.9 million acres) with summer-sown rice,  up 3.28% from the same period last year, as robust monsoon rains encouraged the expansion of acreage.

This higher rice planting in India, the world’s second-biggest producer of grain, will ease concerns about the lower output of the staple.

Late last month, India ordered a halt to its largest rice export category, a move that will roughly halve shipments by the world’s largest exporter of the grain.

According to the ministry, summer rains are crucial as nearly half of India’s farmland lacks irrigation, and for June and July together, India’s monsoon rains were 5% above average, falling 10% below normal in June but rebounding to 13% above average in July.

This year, the delayed arrival of monsoon rains and lower rainfall in June, especially in some southern, eastern, and central states, held back the planting of summer crops, even as the monsoon covered the entire country nearly a week in advance.

Thailand and Vietnam benefit from India’s export ban 

While India is trying to revive its rice production, Thailand is benefiting from India’s rice export ban and has no reason to halt its own shipments as it has sufficient output for exports and domestic consumption, its commerce minister said on Monday.

With India’s export ban, global prices rise as volumes drop … farmers can sell paddy rice at higher prices,” Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told a press briefing.

Thailand, the world’s second-largest rice exporter, is expected to export more than 8 million metric tons of rice this year, Charoen Laothamatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, told the briefing.

Similarly, Vietnam’s trade minister on Friday said a surge in global rice prices after India’s export ban, offered an opportunity to increase exports, but stressed the need to ensure domestic food security.

Prices of Vietnam’s 5% broken rice hit a 15-year high of US$590-US$600 per metric ton on Friday, up from US$550-US$575 a week ago, traders said.

This is an opportunity for us to boost rice production and exports,” Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said at a conference, according to a statement on the ministry’s website.

Vietnam is the world’s third-largest rice exporter after India and Thailand, and is expected to export 7.8 million metric tons of rice this year, up from 7.1 million tons last year, an agriculture minister official said on Tuesday.

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