Rice prices have begun to rise across India with the surge being sharp in West Bengal, where they have increased by 10-15% in the past month.
The surge, higher than wheat and atta (wheat flour) is on account of demand from Bangladesh primarily, though panic purchases in some quarters have also aided the trend, reports The Hindu.
The price of the common variety (Swarna) has increased by ₹2 (₹1 = Tk1.18) a kg to ₹25-27 this year against ₹23-25 in the year-ago period. The price of the premium Miniket has increased by nearly ₹3-5 to ₹41-42 this year against ₹37-38 last year.
Bangladesh had recently reduced import duty and tariffs on rice from 62.5% to 25%.
The lower production of rice in Bangladesh has also pushed them to allow imports earlier than usual this year.
Dhaka has also banned exports of all types of rice, heating up the market further.
Bangladesh usually starts importing by September-October, but this year, they have already started importing since June-end or early July.
Nationally, the weighted average modal price (the rate at which most trades take place) has dropped to ₹2,901 a quintal from ₹2,962 a month ago. But in West Bengal, the weighted average modal price has increased to ₹3,093 from ₹2,921 a month ago.
But rice prices have increased in retail outlets across India.
As per the data of the neighbouring country's Department of Consumer Affairs, rice prices in retail outlets have increased to ₹36.62 a kg (₹3,183.18 a quintal in wholesale outlets) from ₹36.33 (₹3,153.92) a month ago. The increase in the cereal's price is 0.80% month-on-month, higher than 0.53% for wheat and 0.35% for atta.
India exported close to 16.23 lakh tonnes of non-basmati rice to Bangladesh in 2021-22, valued at around ₹4,541 crore, according to the Indian Director-General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics.
This is a sharp jump of 78% compared with the export of 9.11 lakh tonnes (valued at ₹2,552 crore) in 2020-21.
West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are the key Indian states from where rice is exported to Bangladesh.