India becomes main rice exporter in the world
Indian exports should reach 7 million tonnes by 31 August. US Department of Agriculture data show that India should surpass Vietnam and Thailand. Favourable weather and more investments helped the bumper crop. The 3-year ban (2008-2011) on exports of non-basmati varieties also boosted supplies to local markets and reduced prices.

Mumbai (AsiaNews/Agencies) - India is set to surpass Vietnam and Thailand as the world's biggest exporter of rice in the world. Already the world's largest rice grower after China, India benefitted from favourable weather and government investments.

Exports could climb to 7 million metric tonnes in the year ending 31 August, said Samarendu Mohanty, a senior economist at the International Rice Research Institute. That is more than double the 2.8 million tonnes exported in 2010-2011.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, Thailand exported 10.5 million tonnes last year, but is expected to ship only 6.5 million this year. Vietnam should export 7 million tonnes this year, the same as last.

The harvest in India could climb by 7.7 per cent to 103.4 million tonnes from 96 million tonnes a year earlier. State reserves of rice and wheat jumped 21 per cent to 53.4 million tonnes as of 1 April.

The minimum purchase price of the common variety of raw rice increased to an all-time high of 1,080 rupees (US$ 20) per 100 kilograms.

In 2008, India banned exports of non-basmati varieties to stock local markets and keep a lid on prices. The measure was successful because rice prices dropped by 17 per cent.

Last September, the Indian government lifted the ban. Since then exports of non-basmati varieties have exceeded 4 million tonnes.