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Rice exports may dip 30 as harvest contracts

Rice exports will decline to about 7 million tonnes (mt) to 8 mt from 10 mt this year as drought and a cyclone this month curb output.
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Rice shipments from India, the top supplier in 2014, will probably drop as much as 30 percent as drought and a cyclone this month curb output.

Exports will decline to about 7 million tonnes (mt) to 8 mt from 10 mt this year, said Samarendu Mohanty, head of the social sciences division at the International Rice Research Institute. Production will drop to a range of 95 mt to 100 mt in 2014-2015 from 106 mt a year earlier, Mohanty said.

India will concede its position as the largest supplier to Thailand in 2015 after weak rains during the first half of the monsoon reduced output, according to the Food & Agriculture Organization. Production of food grain sown in the rainy season may drop to the lowest in five years, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said last month.

"Plantings were delayed, then floods came in many parts of the country and after the floods, the cyclone came," Mohanty said in an interview in Bangkok recently. "All these events will reduce production." Seeding of crops from rice to soybeans and lentils were delayed as about 90 percent of the country had below normal rainfall in June, the India Meteorological Department says.

Half a million hectares were affected by Cyclone Hudhud, which hit the east coast this month, Mohanty said.

Weak rains in the first part of the monsoon will cut milled output to 104 mt from 106.5 mt, FAO said in a report October 2. Exports from the South Asian nation will drop 20 percent to 8 mt, while Thailand will ship 10.6 mt, the Rome-based agency said.

The spread of Ebola may disrupt Indian shipments to Africa, Mohanty said. India is the top supplier to some countries such as Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, he said.

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