China, the world’s largest rice consumer, is expected to become the largest rice importer this year, according to a new report.
China’s rice imports this year will surge to three million metric tonnes from 2.34 million tonnes a year ago, according United States Department of Agriculture report featured prominently in the Chinese media today.
Imports of rice has increased since 2012 as “consumption demand for rice in China has exceeded the supply”, it said.
If the forecast holds true, it would represent a sharp increase as the country’s rice imports hovered around 450,000 tonnes per year over the five-year period that ended in 2011, official data showed.
It would also make China outstrip Nigeria to become the world’s largest rice importer, state-run China Daily reported.
Analysts said that China has no shortage of rice supplies and blamed the expected surge in imports on the price discrepancy between the domestic and global markets.