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Asian rice production pushes world output to record high

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Asian rice production pushes world output to record high


Asia’s rice production is expected to reach 649.8 million tons this year, helping to push the world output to a new peak, the Food and Agriculture Organisation has said.

Global rice output is forecast to hit 718.3 million tons, ‘exceeding by 18 million tons the world record set in 2010,’ the FAO said in its latest update on the food situation in Asia.

FAO predicted that the world rice trade for 2011 will amount to 33.2 million tons, up by six per cent of last year’s trade.

The rise is attributed to greater imports by Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Iran and Nigeria, according to a report by on Wednesday.

Some 649.8 million tons of rice will be grown in Asia, with an estimated 340 million tons grown in China and India, according to FAO estimates.

India is forecast to post a 5-per-cent increase in rice production this year, thanks in part to the government’s price-support scheme.

An increase of 8 per cent in the subsidy to farmers has encouraged them to plant more rice this year, the FAO said.

‘If there is one commodity in which there is a big glut on the world market, it’s rice,’ said Sumitr Broca, FAO’s rice expert in Bangkok.

India has kept a ban on rice exports since 2008 but is reportedly considering lifting it.

Rice prices on the world market rose slightly in July, partly due to Thailand’s change of government.

‘Rice prices continued to rise in Thailand in July following the election of a new government that has promised to change the key support program for farmers,’ the FAO report said.

Thailand has been the world’s leading exporter of rice since the early 1960s, shipping more than 10 million tons last year.

The new government that came to power after the July 3 general election has promised to pay farmers a fixed price of 15,000 baht ($500) per ton of rice, regardless of market prices.

The policy is expected to create large government stockpiles.

‘They might be able to pull it off for a few months but then they will run in to the problem of storage, because they will not be able to sell all that rice,’ Broca predicted. - Nigerian news, and news on, naija, Nigeria, West Africa

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