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Africa faces social unrest due to rice export ban by India : Alvaro Lario

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 13-01-2024
Africa faces social unrest due to rice export ban by India : Alvaro Lario Economy 5 min read

A top United Nations officer, Alvaro Lario, has warned that the decision of the government of India to ban the export of rice risks potential conflict and unrest, especially in Africa.

The price of Rice in the international market has reached a 15 year high after India and other exporting countries announced export restrictions. India is the leading exporter of rice in the world followed by Thailand and Vietnam.

The head of the International Fund for Agricultural Development(IFAD), Alvaro Lario, said: "The export ban is bringing back memories of 2008, when a global rice crisis put 100 million people at risk, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa."

At that time, India and Vietnam, two leading exporters of Rice in the world, restricted the export of Rice. 

He said that food shortages in the past have contributed to unrest in the past. Wheat shortage and the resultant price rise led to the Arab Spring, where many governments were toppled by popular protest.

 Arab Spring refers to the pro-democracy movement in North Africa and West Asia in 2010,2011. It started in Tunisia, where the government had to resign and soon spread to Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.

Rice is the staple food of the world and is more important than wheat in the world. Many African countries that are reliant on imported Rice are already seeing the impact of higher prices of Rice.

Indian government's decision to ban the export of Rice 

  • The government of India decided to ban the export of non-basmati white Rice in July 2023 to boost domestic supply and keep retail prices under check during the upcoming festive season.
  • Last year, in the month of September, India banned the export of broken rice. 
  • However the government has allowed the export of Rice on a case-to-case basis at the request of friendly governments.
  • The government has allowed the export of parboiled and basmati Rice.

Role of India in the world rice market 

  • Since 2011-12, India has been the number one exporter of Rice in the world.
  • India exported around 22 million tonnes of Rice in 2021-22, worth USD 9.66 billion. 
  • The Indian Rice was exported to over 140 countires.
  • India's contribution to world rice export was 40% in 2021-22.
  • The major share in the rice export is of non-basmati Rice. The total export of non-basmati Rice in 2021-22 was USD 6.12 billion, and basmati rice was USD 3.54 billion.
  • In 2021-22, Iran was the largest buyer of Indian basmati rice, followed by Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.
  • In 2021-22, Bangladesh was the biggest buyer of non-basmati Rice, followed by Benin, China and Nepal.

Worst hit countries due to Indian export ban

The Indian decision to ban the export of Rice has hit hard countries like Bangladesh and Nepal. They depend upon white non-basmati Rice imported from India. 

African countries like Benin, Senegal, Togo, and Mali Are the major importers of broken Rice.

International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)

The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) is a specialised agency of the United Nations which was set up in 1977.

It was set up to provide financing facilities to the agricultural sector in developing countries, especially the food production sector.

President : Alvaro Lario 

Headquarters: Rome, Italy


Answer : India , It has been the largest exporter of rice since 2011-2012.

Answer : Parboiled rice and Basmati rice. Export of non basmati white rice and broken rice has been banned by the government of India .

Answer : Rome, Italy

Answer : Alvaro Lario

Answer : Bangladesh
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