Top rice exporter India bans most shipments as monsoon hits crops

A woman harvests ripened rice in a paddy field at Karunj village in the western state of Maharashtra, India, October 17, 2022. REUTERS/Rajendra Jadhav/file photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India has prohibited the export of non-basmati white rice with immediate effect, according to a government notice on Thursday, after a late start to seasonal monsoon rains hurt the crop and raised fears of a production shortfall.

The late arrival of the monsoon led to a large rain deficit up to mid-June, before heavy rains since the last week of June erased the shortfall.

Heavy rainfall in northern parts of India over the last few weeks has damaged newly planted crops in states including Punjab and Haryana, and many farmers have had to replant.

Rice paddy fields in northern states have been submerged for over a week, destroying newly planted seedlings, and forcing farmers to wait for waters to recede so they can replant.

In other major rice-growing states, including West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, farmers have prepared paddy nurseries but have been unable to transplant the seedlings due to inadequate rainfall.

The area under rice cultivation had been expected to increase after New Delhi raised the rice purchase price, but industry officials now estimate a marginal decrease. Farmers so far have planted rice paddy on an area 6% smaller than in 2022.

While average monsoon rains are ordinarily good for Indian farmers, uneven distribution this year has created problems.



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