People in rice consuming countries like Bangladesh will have more comfort in managing their living cost as the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) predicted a stable market for the staple food grains.
"The 2007-08 rice price spike seems like a distant dream now considering the calmness in the rice market in the past few years despite El Ni o and other weather-related scares", said an IRRI report published recently.
The report attributed the stability to the record production in 2016-17, which is expected to reach 480 million tonnes (milled rice equivalent) as compared with 472 million tonnes last year.
The normal monsoon in many Asian rice-growing countries contributed to this bumper crop. This is the sixth record crop in the past seven years, the report said. It also noted that this would also be the sixth year in a row in which India would be exporting 10 million tonnes or more of rice since removing the export ban on nonbasmati rice in 2011.
"India's entry into nonbasmati market coincided with the Thai mortgage scheme, neutralising the unilateral action of Thailand to increase rice prices through its mortgage scheme," the report said.
Besides, the IRRI said India's entry into export market helped keeping rice price stable despite huge rice import by China and some sub-Saharan countries.
According to the report, rice consumption has increased by nearly 14.0 per cent from 418.5 million tonnes in 2006-07 to 475.5 million tonnes in 2016-17.
Apart from the increasing consumption, rising popularity of rice in many non-Asian countries, including Sub- Saharan Africa and the Middle East, is likely to support the uptrend in rice trade in the future, the report added.
The report, however, cautioned about the active participation of India and China in global rice trade, which might bring a degree of uncertainty to the market because of their sheer size and their focus on domestic food security.
"Politicians will continue to fiddle with domestic and trade policies to support farmers and achieve greater domestic price stability and in the process may bring greater volatility to the international market," the report said.