Food: will there be a shortage of rice for the end of the year?

The French Rice Mill Syndicate (SRF) warns of possible supply disruptions and increases on all varieties of rice.

Towards a new disruptive food in supermarkets. For the past few days, fears have been increasing on the side of the Syndicat de la rizerie française (SRF), which warns of stock shortages and future price increases on the famous starch, among our colleagues at LSA conso.

It is a food very popular with the French, with nearly five kilos consumed per year and per person. In addition, France produced nearly 78,000 tonnes in 2020, according to the FranceAgriMer report dating from 2022, in rice fields in the south of France (Bouches-du-Rhône, Gard and Aude).

But this production is far from sufficient to cover the needs for consumption and agricultural uses. Thus, over the 2020-2021 season, nearly 500,000 tonnes of rice, including broken rice, were imported into France. The cereal is mainly imported from Italy (28%), Thailand (15%) and Spain (14%).

Climate change and the war in Ukraine in question

According to the SRF, climate change would be the first reason to explain these next shortages. “Climatic conditions (high heat followed by heavy rains) weighed on rice yields in India and Pakistan). Thus, at least 250,000 tonnes of grain would have been lost.

Also at issue is the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which indirectly affects the quantities distributed by the exporting countries. Thus, India, from which comes 12% of the rice used in France, “after banning the export of wheat […]banned the export of broken rice and introduced a 20% tax on the export of rice.

Climatic problems have also affected Europe, with severe summer drought in all countries and especially Spain and Italy, which together represent nearly half of the rice consumed in France.

Likewise, the energy crisis should be another final blow for consumers. “Stoppages in parboiling plants in third countries are no longer to be excluded and the risk of rupture is real”, worries the Syndicate of the French rice mill. Finally, there are the ever-increasing transport and packaging costs. According to INSEE data, the rice price index increased by 18% between August 2021 and the same month in 2022.

Consequently, in addition to possible shortages, consumers should see the package of rice burn in the coming months. Some varieties, such as risotto, basmati or parboiled (more energy-intensive), will be even more affected.

Before rice, products like mustard, sunflower oil or wheat flour were sold out in supermarkets.

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