UAE – The UAE was among the top five global markets for Indian basmati rice in the first nine months of the 2023/24 financial year, the Indian government’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has announced.

The other four lucrative markets were Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, all from the Middle East, and the US.

The report covers statistics from the beginning of April to the end of December 2023.

Rice is one of the most consumed grains in the UAE, and according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the UAE MY 2022/23 rice consumption (January 2024– December 2024) is forecast to increase by five per cent or 50,000 MT to reach 1.050 MMT.

The region, however, relies on imports from India and Pakistan for its consumption and re-export.

India’s basmati rice exports up 19%

Meanwhile, during the nine months, the total worldwide exports of Indian basmati rice rose by 19 per cent, according to APEDA.

In value terms, it rose to US$3.97 billion from US$3.33 billion during the corresponding three quarters of the previous year.

In volume, the exports went up by 11 per cent, from 3.198 million metric tonnes to 3.543 million metric tonnes within the same timeframe.

“This robust performance underscores the enduring popularity and global demand for basmati rice, further solidifying its position as a major agricultural product in India’s export portfolio,” APEDA said.

The report comes after Reuters, in November 2023, reported that basmati rice prices in India surged due to robust demand from the world’s top buyers in the Middle East and Europe.

According to Reuters, the surge was due to India’s decision to cut the floor price for basmati rice exports to US$950 a ton from $1,200 a ton, forcing bulk buyers in wholesale grain markets to pay 10% to 15% more than the previous year.

The decision, it added, spurred a flurry of export contracts, boosting demand and pushing up prices in most wholesale markets of top grain-growing states.

This resulted in India signing contracts to export about 500,000 metric tons of new season basmati rice, indicating brisk overseas sales of the premium aromatic variety.

India’s total agricultural exports in the fiscal year 2022-23, were worth US$53.1 billion, APEDA said on the occasion of its 38th Foundation Day on 13th February.

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