During 2020, India dominated parboiled rice trade and is expected to expand further in 2021 as demand rises. India is currently the largest parboiled rice supplier, followed by Thailand.
In 2019/20, Thailand produced less rice, leading to sharply higher export prices that constrained total rice exports. Meanwhile, India has ample supplies and competitive prices and can respond to rising market demand.
Most parboiled shipments from these two major exporters are destined for Africa. Some countries including South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire are stable markets. However, top parboiled importer Nigeria had lowered purchases during the past few years in an attempt to be self-sufficient. But widespread flooding and rising food inflation are expected to propel Nigerian imports during 2021, primarily via neighboring countries.
Bangladesh has been a marginal parboiled importer since 2017-2018, with almost no imports in 2020. However, Bangladesh production is lower due to inclement weather and flooding. In response, the Bangladesh government has tendered for rice imports and lowered the import tariff from 62.5 percent to 25 percent, which makes private sector imports of parboiled rice feasible.
Overall, parboiled imports are expected to grow in 2021, mostly based on stronger demand from Nigeria and Bangladesh. India is forecast to be the primary supplier with its competitive export prices at the start of 2021.