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UAE rice ban after major exporter India spikes global supply fears

The UAE was the world's 16th-largest importer of rice in 2021 and the majority of it came from India.
A bag of rice is unloaded from a truck at an Indian grains depot near New Delhi on August 27, 2013, one day after the Indian parliament passed a flagship 18-billion-dollar programme to provide subsidised food to the poor that is intended to "wipe out" endemic hunger and malnutrition in the aspiring superpower. Despite decades of fast economic growth, India still struggles to feed its 1.2-billion population adequately with more than 40 percent of children under five malnourished, according to a major survey

DUBAI — The United Arab Emirates’ rice exporting ban issued Friday comes about a week after India issued its major prohibition on non-basmati rice exports, heavily affecting the local markets of the Gulf country that imports 90% of its food.

The UAE was the 16th-largest importer of rice in the world in 2021, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, importing $484 million in rice that year. It also imported the majority of its rice from India ($301 million) and is therefore critically impacted by the new Indian policy.

What happened: The UAE Ministry of Economy announced on Friday a temporary suspension of rice exports and reexports to foreign markets for four months.

The ban covers “various types of rice and their products that do not originate from India,” the ministry said in a statement.

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