Rice provides more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans. Asian nations who especially rely upon rice diets are largely self-sufficient producers, neither importing nor exporting the product. The U.S. produces high quality rice varieties and plays an important role as a consistent and reliable rice exporter.
- Rice is one of the top food grains consumed worldwide, but just 6-7 percent of global production, on average, is currently traded in international markets, well below the 20 percent of wheat traded, 11 percent of corn, and 35 percent of soybeans.
- China, India, Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, Pakistan and the United States account for more than 90 percent of global rice exports.
- Although the U.S. accounts for less than 2 percent of world rice production, it has ranked as the third or fourth largest exporter since 1995 and accounted for more than 10 percent of global trade in 2009. The U.S. is a consistent supplier of high-quality rice, shipping long-, medium-, and short-grain rice to more than 100 countries. The U.S. is the only major exporter that ships rough rice (unmilled), as the Asian exporters prefer to capture the value added from fully milling the rice.
- Several factors have enabled the U.S. to become a reliable supplier to world rice markets. The entire U.S. crop is irrigated, and growers plant only high-quality seeds.
- The U.S. consumes only about half its rice production, leaving large amounts for export. U.S. per capita use of rice is about 26 pounds per year—less than one-eighth the average in Asia where it is a food staple—and is barely increasing.
- Asia accounts for almost 90 percent of global rice production and consumption.
- China, India, Vietnam, Burma, and Cambodia, all major or mid-level exporters, produce rice primarily for their own markets, with governments allowing only surplus production to be exported.
- Export bans and restrictions were the major reason for the record global rice prices in 2007/08. High oil prices, a weak dollar, and a general rise in commodity prices were less important factors.
- The Philippines is the world’s largest rice-importing country and Thailand is the world’s largest rice exporter.
- Top 10 Rice Exporters: Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, United States, India, China, Uruguay, Cambodia, Egypt, Burma.
- Top 10 Rice Importers: Philippines, Nigeria, European Union, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Malaysia, Ivory Coast, Bangladesh, Senegal
Source: Amber Waves
Also, see "On Rice Production and Stocks"