Panic Buying Ensues As Critical Nonperishable Is Rationed

( – India has banned the export of non-basmati rice, the most common type of rice used outside of the nation. The subsequent drop in supply has caused panic buying and inflationary pressure, causing 20-lb bags previously priced at around $16 to soar close to $50 in some locations around the US.

Indian officials called to terminate exports of the grain to calm domestic inflationary pressures after weather patterns created a decrease in the available supply. Droughts and flooding in various parts of the country have devastated the growing season and severely impacted Indian rice farmers, leading to fears of shortages. India accounts for 40% of the world’s rice exports, without their contributions to the global supply prices will rise.

Panic buying was documented in several US states, from New Jersey to Texas, Alabama, California, and Ohio. Stores are taking a variety of approaches to limit the purchases of large quantities of rice. One store required additional purchases to “qualify” to buy the grain. Others have simply inflated their pricing or limited the number of bags someone could buy at one time.

Parboiled rice is specifically excepted from the ban and accounted for 7.4 million tons of India’s rice exports last year. Rice is a major dietary staple for 3 billion people around the world. In Northern India, heavy rainfall has destroyed rice paddies forcing farmers to wait until the waters recede before they can replant. In other states, the problem was a lack of rainfall preventing the transplant of young rice plants into paddies where they can mature.

The government has also ceased wheat exports and limited sugar cane ahead of their general elections next year. Food inflation is a huge issue across the board and especially impacts nations like India with a large population of poor people.

The move comes at a time when the Ukrainian war is preventing exports of wheat across the Black Sea. An agreement to allow the exports essentially fell apart after Russia failed to agree to renew its commitments to the deal.

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