Rice is the staple food of many countries. It is consumed by the largest segment of the human population. It is grown in wet environments, which is widely found in the Asian region. Asia is the biggest exporter of rice in the world; Asian countries like India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Pakistan have the highest export volume of rice globally. Paddy cultivation plays a vital role in raising the economy of these countries. The Asian region has more than 200 million rice fields and contributes about 90% of the world’s total rice production. You will find thousands of varieties of rice in the Asian continent, some of which are Basmati rice, Jasmine rice, Black rice, Arborio rice, Glutinous rice, Koshy rice, Com tam rice, etc.
There are many countries where rice is eaten but grown. In this article, we will throw light on the world’s largest importers of rice. The following 10 countries are responsible for 50% of rice imports worldwide.
Philippines tops the list of largest rice importers by purchasing 2.5 MMT rice in 2019-2020. Generally, it exports rice from Vietnam and Thailand. Rice is the staple food of Filipinos. In the Philippines, uncooked rice is known as Bigas, and cooked rice is called Kanin. The people of this country prefer to eat both sticky and slender long grain rice.
Although China is the largest producer of rice in the world, it imports rice from other countries. It is the second-largest buyer of paddy in the world. In 2020 China produces around 2.8 MMT rice while imports 2.3 MMT rice. It majorly purchases rice from Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Pakistan. Chinese people love to eat glutinous, japonica, and indica rice.
- European Union
The European Union consists of 27 countries that allow the free movement of goods, services, and people. It ranks third in the world in rice procurement. European Union imports approximately 2.3 MMT paddy in 2019-2020. France, the Netherlands, the UK, India, and Germany export rice to most European countries. Europeans love to eat locally grown rice called Japonica.
- Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is the fourth-largest buyer of rice. A great part of this country is surrounded by desert, which makes rice cultivation difficult. This country has import 1.35 MMT rice in 2019-2020.Saudi imports rice from 15 countries, including India, Pakistan, USA, Thailand, Australia, Vietnam, Brazil, Bangladesh, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Egypt, China, the Philippines, and Argentina. Saudi Arabia purchases a large quantity of Indian Basmati rice every year. They use this aromatic rice in making Al Kabsa, Mathlotha, Ruz al Bukhari, etc.
Senegal is a West African country and is ranked 5th in the list of the world’s largest importers of rice. In 2019-2020 it purchased 1.15 MMT rice from other countries. India, Thailand, and Brazil are the major supplier of rice to Senegal. Jollof rice is the most popular dish of Senegal: cooked with long -nutty Jasmine rice.
- Iraq, Iran & Côte D’ivoire
All these three countries hold 6th position by importing 1.1MLT rice in 2019-2020. India supplies maximum rice grain to both Iraq and Iran. Côte d’Ivoire lies on the south coast of West Africa. The rice production of this country is very low; Only 8% of people cultivate rice here. Hence it imports high quantities of rice from other countries.
- Nigeria, South Africa & UAE
Nigeria, South Africa & UAE ranks 7th on this list. These countries’ rice import in 2019-2020 is 1 MMT. Generally, Nigeria, South Africa, and the UAE imports rice from India, Pakistan, and Thailand.
Wrapping Up -:
Among all varieties of rice, Basmati rice is relished by people of all countries. Due to its mesmerizing aroma, it is also known as scented rice. India is the biggest producer and exporter of Basmati rice globally. Hundreds of varieties of Basmati rice are grown on Indian Farms.