Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rice Production

Source UNCTAD:

Rice is the second largest produced cereal in the world. At the beginning of the 1990s, annual production was around 350 million tons and by the end of the century it had reached 410 million tons. World production totaled 395 million tons of milled rice in 2003, compared with 387 million tons in 2002. This reduction since the end of the previous millemium is explained by the strong pressure put on land and water resources, which led to a decrease of seeded areas in some Western and Eastern Asian countries.

Production is geographically concentrated in Western and Easter Asia with more than 90 percent of world output. China and India, which account for more than one-third of global population (52,3% over the 1999-2003 period), supply over half of the world's rice. Brazil is the most important non-Asian producer, followed by the United States. Italy ranks first in Europe.

World production has shown a significant and very steady growth, almost exclusively due to increasing production in Western and Eastern Asia.

Growth has not been homogeneous in this group of countries. Traditionally, production in Asian increases, except in Japan. The decrease in Asian production at the end of the 1990s did not get enough attention as it was considered to be a temporary abnormality. However, it has now begun to seriously affect some countries such as China where rice areas have declined as a consequence of water scarcity and competition from more profitable crops (oleaginous). Despite this trend, rice still plays a vital role in all the countries in the region.

World rice consumption increased 40 percent in the last 30 years, from 61,5 kg per capita to about 85,9 kg per capita (milled rice).

Three consumption models can be distinguished:

- Asian model: average consumption higher than 80 kg/person per year (China: 90kg, Indonesia: 150kg, Myarmar: more than 200kg, the record);

- "PVD subtropical" model: average consumption between 30 and 60 kg/person per year (Colombia: 40kg, Brazil: 45kg, Ivory Coast: 60kg);

- West model: average consumption lower than 10 kg/person per year (France: 4kg, United States: 9kg).

International rice trade is estimated between 25 and 27 million tons per year, which corresponds to only 5-6 percent of world production. It makes the international rice market one of the smallest in the world compared to other grain markets such as wheat (113 million tons) and corn (80 million tons).

Besides the traditional main exporters (Thailand, Vietnam, India and Pakistan), a relatively important but still limited part of rice traded worldwide comes from developed countries in Mediterranean Europe and the United States. There are two major forces behind this: new food habits in developed countries and new market niches in developing countries.

The Middle East is the leading import and export region, accounting for 35 percent of the world's rice imports and about 75 percent of total exports.

It is projected that the global market will increase 3 percent per year over the mid to long term. However, there are uncertainties about this projection because importers, normally low to lower-middle income countries, have vulnerable economies.

The map below shows the main importers and their suppliers. Each color represents an importer (either a country or a group). The values correspond to imports of different types of rice (paddy, brown, white, broken), in thousands of dollars. The major importers are Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, the Philippines, Iraq and Brazil.

Most rice is consumed in the same country that it is produced. This is one of the most important characteristics of the rice production chain. Domestic rice markets are, therefore, very segmented and often one of the most protected.

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