19 July 2022, New Delhi: Due to rising fertiliser prices at a time when demand is rising, rice production in some parts of Asia is in danger, which might jeopardise both efforts to control inflation and provide food security.
The world’s largest producer of rice, China, has issued a warning about an increased risk of pests and diseases in this year’s harvest, with some regions reporting an increase of almost 10% in the affected area. Even while exports increased in the first half, Vietnam, a major shipper, noted that high freight and production costs are obstacles.
According to a research unit of Kasikornbank Pcl (Thai Farmers Bank), increased prices for crop fertilisers may lead crop yields to decrease in Thailand, the second-largest exporter in the world, while in the Philippines, the second-largest importer, a smaller harvest is anticipated to increase the demand for foreign purchases. While India’s output depends on a good monsoon, China is concerned about the impact of pests on its crops.
Asia produces and consumes the majority of the world’s rice, making it essential for the region’s political and economic stability. Rice prices have remained stable compared to the spike in wheat and corn prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but there is no assurance that this will continue. During a panic over supplies in 2008, prices climbed beyond US$1,000 per tonne, more than double the level presently.
While this year’s increases in wheat, corn, and cooking oils have been mostly given up due to an improved prognosis for supply, it is obvious that farm productivity is ultimately reliant on the weather, which is growing more unpredictable as a result of climate change. Rice will unavoidably once again be in demand as a food source and as a feed for livestock if wheat and corn prices rise again.
A lot depends on the rice harvest in India, which exports 40% of the world’s supply of the food staple. According to V. Subramanian, vice-president at The Rice Trader, a researcher and conference organiser, “Global supply is at risk, but for the time being we still have tremendous Indian availability that is reining in prices.”
With the claim that its food security was in jeopardy, India already restricted wheat exports, which the rest of the world was banking on to ease tight supplies. Concerns exist that rice might be the next food on the list, although the likelihood of that depends on the monsoon rains and the harvest this year. The monsoon is currently moving along properly.
Exports of rice from India are currently assisting in easing any regional supply shortages. A turning point for Thai farmers, according to the Kasikorn Research Center, came with the record-high price of fertiliser following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Farmers in the country are now more likely to apply crop nutrients sparingly, which will reduce yields at a time when demand for agricultural products from abroad is increasing.
Due to more expensive fertiliser, the Philippines anticipates a lower rice crop this year. The government is also concerned about the rising cost of food, particularly rice, which accounts for around 16% of the budgets of lower-income people.
According to Subramanian of The Rice Trader, ′′Looking at the current position, India is acting as an anchor for pricing with its big exports.