India rice production might fall by 2 million due to dry August, says USDA

By Sanjeeb Mukherjee

India’s rice production for the 2023-24 season might drop by 2 million tonnes (mt) due to a dry August, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA’s latest crop outlook indicates that India’s expected rice production for the year will be approximately 132 mt, reflecting the impact of below-average monsoon rains in August on the kharif crop.

The 2023-24 production figure includes kharif rice production, rabi rice, and rice produced during the summer months.

According to the government’s Third Advance Estimates of foodgrain production, total rice production in the 2022-23 season (kharif + rabi + summer crop) is estimated to be around 135.54 mt.

“India’s 2023-24 rice production lowered by 2 mt to 132 mt on below-average monsoon rains in August affecting the kharif crop,” the USDA said in its latest assessment.

However, it’s worth noting that the government’s official production estimate for the kharif crop in 2023-24 has not yet been released, so the USDA’s assessment might not match the government’s.

On a global scale, the USDA report predicts a decrease in rice consumption by 200,000 tonnes to approximately 522.7 mt in 2023-24. This reduction is primarily due to decreases in consumption in Bangladesh and Vietnam, which outweigh an increase in consumption in India.

The report also mentions that global rice trade for 2023-24 is expected to reach 52.2 mt, marking a decrease of 800,000 tonnes. This decline is attributed to reduced rice exports from India, which will only be partially offset by increased exports from Thailand, Vietnam, and the US.

“The Government of India has imposed further restrictions on rice exports, with an export tax on parboiled rice and a minimum export price for basmati,” the report notes.

The report projects world rice ending stocks for 2023-24 at 167.6 mt, down by 4.2 mt, with the majority of the reduction occurring in India.

According to the latest government data on the sowing of kharif crops, the area under paddy has staged a significant recovery due to a revival of monsoon rains in major growing regions.

As of September 8, the area covered under paddy in the kharif season is approximately 2.7 per cent more than the previous year, totalling around 40.34 million hectares. This figure surpasses the normal area covered under paddy, which averages 39.94 million hectares over the past five years.

This article has been republished from The Business Standard.

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