The BIMSTEC - Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation – country group consists of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand. Together, these countries are home to more than 712 food-insecure people, and the prevalence of food insecurity has increased in the majority of the region since 2014. Given this food security situation, India’s recent export ban of non-basmati white rice and export duty on parboiled rice raise significant concerns for the region.
In early 2022, Sudha Narayanan, Shahidur Rashid, and I (IFPRI), and Alex Winter-Nelson (University of Illinois) began pulling together a Special Issue for the journal Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy focused on COVID-19 in South Asia. Our goal was to distill forward-looking lessons for the developing world by drawing on similar and disparate country-level experiences. The issue is now available online and its 14 papers provide important lessons for future shocks.
On July 20, India banned exports of non-basmati price (covered in our blog post of July 25)—aiming to cool rising domestic prices—a move many feared would drive rising global prices higher. Since then, that trend has continued: The benchmark Thai rice price has risen 14%, Viet Nam rice prices are up 22%, and India white rice prices are up 12% (Figure 1). In August, in an effort to prevent exporters from undermining the ban, India put a surcharge of 20% on exports of parboiled rice and instituted a minimum sales price for basmati rice.
Good News for Some Countries, But Acute Food Insecurity Persists Worldwide: Global Report on Food Crises Midyear Update Released
The Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC) 2023 Midyear Update finds that while some countries have seen improvements in hunger and malnutrition in the first half of 2023, high levels of acute food insecurity remain worldwide. As in previous years, conflict, climate change, and economic shocks continue to be the main drivers of food crisis, with conflict playing the predominant role from January through August 2023.
India’s edible oil imports from Nepal: Policy implications of current tariffs and free trade agreements
India’s import demand for edible oils has been significant over the past decade, with imports averaging $11.6 billion annually. In 2021, prior to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, India imported a staggering $17.1 billion of edible oils (Figure 1), dominated by palm oil ($9.6 billion), soybean oil ($4.8 billion), and sunflower/safflower oils ($2.4 billion).