- People are storing food grains due to corona infection and lockdown
- Expectations of Thai rice demand to rise due to export disruptions from India and Vietnam
Coronavirus has led to a jump in prices of rice and wheat. Rice prices in Asia have reached a 7-year high. According to the Rice Exporters Association, the price of broken rice has increased 12% between March 25 and April 1. Rice prices are at their highest level since April 2013, according to the news agency Reuters. Prices are rising because, despite adequate supply, rice is being stored. Demand for Thai rice is also expected to increase due to export disruptions from India and Vietnam.
More problems due to sowing season
Samarendu Mohanty, Regional Director (Asia), International Potato Center, says that the agriculture sector, like other sectors, has been badly affected. Apart from the lockdown period, its timing is having more effect because, if missed in the planting season, the farmers will not be able to crop throughout the year.
Exporters not taking new contract
Asia produces 90% of the rice supplied in the world. According to a Reuters report, India’s rice traders are not taking on new contracts for exports because of the lockdown because there are no laborers and the delivery of earlier contracts is also not happening. On the other hand, the Vietnam government has reduced exports.
Labor is not available for agricultural work
Due to the drought in Thailand and increasing demand from Asia-Africa businessmen, the price rise of rice started in late 2019 but now the situation has worsened. Like India and South Asian countries, other countries of the world also have a sowing season of wheat, potatoes, cotton, fruits and vegetables. For this, there is a need for laborers associated with farming, but due to the spread of corona infection and lockdown, labor is not available.
Inflation will be higher this year
Not only rice, but also the price of wheat has gone up worldwide. The demand for wheat has increased due to the lockdown in many countries including North America and Europe. In the second fortnight of March, wheat prices rose by 15%. Analysts say that wheat and rice will also be expensive in the coming days.