Global production in 2002/03 is projected at 394.5 million tons, nearly unchanged from 2001/02

By Dr. S.M. ALAM, NIA, Tandojam
Sep 01 - 07 , 2003 

With the greatest populations to feed, China and India remain the world's top two rice producers in 2002/2003. In China, rice is mainly produced in Sichuan, Jiangxi, Guandong, Guangxi, and Hubei provinces. The main rice production areas in India are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Bihar. However, production of Indian rice in 2002/2003 was forecast at 80 million tons, down from approximately 90 million tons in the previous year, on account of poor monsoon rains during the middle of 2002, when developing crops rely heavily on rainfall. The subsequent drought condition was reported to be the worst over the past decade. Thailand ranks sixth in the world in terms of rice production volume in 2002/2003, trailing behind China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam.

After a record 409.2 million metric tons in 1999/2000, world rice production has shown a general decline in production year-on-year, with 397.35, 396.59 and 384.4 million metric tons in 2000/01, 2001/02 and 2002/03, respectively. This year will also see lower rice production due to several factors including unfavorable weather particularly the El Nino phenomenon, reduction of growing areas and unattractive prices. Rice output in 2002/03 is expected to fall by 3 percent from 2001/02, with lower output in major producing nations like India, Pakistan, Vietnam and the US, as well in other nations including the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

World rice production for 2001/02 is forecast at 393.3 million tons (milled basis), down 2.5 million from last year's output, as a sharp 4.8 million ton drop in China's production is only partially offset by a 2.7 million increase in India. In Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Philippines, and Cambodia), production is forecast only marginally higher year-to-year, at 90.4 million tons in 2001/02 versus 89.7 million in 2000/01. Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines are the only Southeast Asia countries expected to increase production. Slightly higher yields account for the improvement in production prospects in Vietnam and Indonesia, while rising output in the Philippines is a function of increased area. Output in Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia is forecast to be virtually the same as in 2000-01. The ecosystems within which rice is grown are characterized by elevation, rainfall pattern, depth of flooding and drainage, and by the adaptation of rice to these agro-ecological factors.

A complete figure for the area in hectares production in metric tons and yield in kg/has of rice of some important producing countries are as: Bangladesh (10700 x 103 ha), (35821 x 103 mt) and (3348 kg/ha); China (30503 x 103 ha), (190168 x 103 mt) and (6234 kg/ha), Cambodia (1873 x 103 ha), (3762 x 103 mt) and (2009 kg/ha); India (44600 x 103 ha), (134150 x 103 mt) and (3008 kg/ha); Indonesia (11523 x 103 ha), (51000 x 103 mt) and (4426 kg/ha); Japan (1770 x 103 ha), (11863 x 103 mt) and (6702 kg/ha); Myanmar (6000 x 103 ha), (20000 x 103 mt) and (3333 kg/ha); Pakistan (2312 x 103 ha), (7000 x 103 mt) and (3027 kg/ha); Philippines (4037 x 103 ha), (12415 x 103 mt) and (3075 kg/ha); South Korea (1072 x 103 ha), (7067 x 103 mt) and (6592 kg/ha); North Korea (535 x 103 ha), (1690 x 103 mt) and (31059 kg/ha); Thailand (10048 x 103 ha), (23403 x 103 mt) and (2329 kg/ha); Vietnam (7655 x 103 ha), (32554 x 103 mt) and (4253 kg/ha); Sri Lanka (4037 x 103 ha), (12415 x 103 mt) and (3177 kg/ha); Brazil (4441 x 103 ha), (11168 x 103 mt) and (3041 kg/ha); USA (1232 x 103 ha), (8669 x 103 mt) and (7037 kg/ha); Nigeria (2061 x 103 ha), (3277 x 103 mt) and (1590 kg/ha).

RAINFED LOWLAND RICE ECOSYSTEM: Rice is transplanted or direct seeded in puddled soil on level to slightly sloping, bunded or dyked fields with variable depth and duration of flooding, depending on rainfall. Soils alternate from flooded to non-flooded, Yields vary depending on rainfall, cultivation practices, and use of fertilizer. Rainfed lowland rice makes up 25 percent of the world's harvested rice area and 17 percent of world production. Areas where rainfed lowland rice is the predominant ecosystem are among the world's most densely populated rural regions and home to some of the world's poorest rural and urban populations. The rainfed lowlands must contribute to the production needed to feed expanding urban areas while preserving natural resources and improving the well being of farm families.

UPLAND RICE ECOSYSTEM: Rice is direct seeded in non-flooded, well-drained soil on level to steeply sloping fields. Crops suffer from lack of moisture and inadequate nutrition, and current yields are very low. Upland rice makes up 13 percent of the world's harvested rice area and 4 percent of rice production. The uplands support millions of people, most of them at the subsistence level. The slash-and-burn agriculture that often follows logging in upland areas opens the way for serious soil erosion and degradation that impacts the lowland watershed. Improved technology is needed that will help rehabilitate degraded uplands and transform them into sustainable agroecosystems.

FLOOD PRONE RICE ECOSYSTEM: Rice is direct seeded or transplanted in the rainy season on fields characterized by medium to very deep flooding (50 to more than 300 cm) from rivers and from tides in river mouth deltas. Soils cycle from flooded to non-flooded and may have severe problems of salinity and toxicity. The rice crop grows as flood water rises, with harvest after the water recedes. More than 15 million hectares in South and Southeast Asia are subject to various types of uncontrolled flooding. West Africa and Latin America also have some flood-prone rice land. Rice is often the only crop that can be grown in the flood-prone areas. Yields are low because of problem soils and unpredictable combinations of drought and flood, and crop failures are common. Yet these low-lying areas support more than 100 million people, most of them in poor farm families. They need sustainable production systems.

IRRIGATED RICE ECOSYSTEM: Rice is transplanted or direct seeded in puddled soil on leveled, bunded fields with water control, in both dry and wet seasons in the lowlands, in the summer at higher elevations, and during the dry season in flood prone areas. The crop is heavily fertilized. Using modern technology, yields can reach 5 tons per hectare in the wet season, more than 10 tons in the dry season. Irrigated rice makes up 55 percent of the world's harvested rice area and 75 per cent of world rice production. It provides the major supply for urban consumers. Growth in irrigated rice production has been largely responsible for the recent stability of urban rice supplies and prices. In the future, the irrigated system must produce even larger yields, economically and sustainably, if Asia's growing population is to be fed.

World rice consumption (1000 m.ton ) to be estimated in 2000/2003 (milled basis) are: China (134,800); India (84,000); Indonesia (36,790); Bangladesh (26,250); Vietnam (17,700); Thailand (9,600); Burma (9,475); Philippines (9,105); Japan (9,000); Brazil (8,000); South Korea (5,100); United States (3,969); Egypt (3,275); Iran (3,100); Ethiopian Union (2,190); North Korea (1,950); Taiwan (1,150); South Africa (600); Others (42,607) and world total (408,661).

The world rice consumption has increased for the last three years. This upward trend is predicted to continue in 2002/03, when the world will consume up to 405.856 million metric tons of rice. This increase is significant, comparing to a mere 388.792 million metric tons in 1998/99. China, the world's most populous country, consumes the most rice. In general, rice consumption has increased in every country from year to year. Thailand consumes 9.9 million metric tons in 2000/01 and is predicted to increase the consumption to approximately 10 million metric tons in 2002/03. In conjuction with the world's rising consumption level, the world's rice production will also expand in order to meet this higher demand.

WORLD RICE SITUATION AND OUTLOOK: Global production in 2002/03 is projected at 394.5 million tons, nearly unchanged from 2001/02. Ending stocks, following the trend of the past few years, are projected to decline, with 2003 levels declining by 15.3 million tons to 109.0 million as the forecast for global consumption grows 2.5 million to 409.8 million tons.

EXPORTER FORECASTS FOR 2003: United States calendar year exports are projected 50,000 tons lower than the current year at 2.9 million tons. Production in 2002/03 is projected at 6.4 million tons (milled basis), 379,000 tons less than 2001/02. Calendar year exports for Thailand, the world's largest exporter, are forecast flat at 7.5 million tons, as production is expected to remain unchanged from the previous year's crop. Vietnam's exports are expected to increase to 3.25 million, up 450,000 tons from the 2002 forecast as it has become more price- competitive with India, particularly with lower quality rice. Production is anticipated to remain flat at 20.5 million tons (milled basis).

Exports by China are projected to climb 500,000 tons from the current year's forecast to 2.0 million. With lower production estimates and higher projected consumption, ending stocks are expected to fall by 13.5 million to 69.0 million tons. India is expected to remain a major market player with 2003 calendar year exports anticipated to remain consistent with the current year's estimate of 4.5 million tons due to competitive prices and large exportable supplies resulting from the production (milled basis) that is expected to outpace consumption, following the trend of the past four years.

The export forecast for Pakistan is expected to fall from the current year's projection of 1.25 million tons to 1.0 million as both production and consumption are forecast flat and ending stocks are projected to remain at around 200,000 tons. Argentina's exports are forecast at 300,000 tons, a drop of 50,000. Uruguay's exports are projected to remain flat at 650,000 tons. This is a result of declining import demand in the region and year-to-year domestic production remaining steady. Calendar year exports by Egypt are forecast to remain at 500,000 tons year-to-year as Egypt remains price competitive, particularly in Turkey. Burma's exports are expected to expand 250,000 tons to 1.5 million as it remains price-competitive and have exportable supplies.


NORTH AMERICA: The United States is projected to increase imports slightly above the 2002 estimate to reach 430,000 tons. Mexico is projected to maintain strong imports of paddy rice from the United States, with expected imports to remain steady at 500,000 tons.

LATIN AMERICA: Imports are expected to fall 100,000 tons to 2.0 million due to increasing regional production (projected at 14.4 million tons, an increase of 250,000). Brazil's imports are anticipated to decline 200,000 tons to 400,000 with a stronger domestic production forecast.

MIDDLE EAST: With only marginally higher production estimates (milled basis), the region is forecast to increase imports in 2003 due in part to low ending stocks. Saudi Arabia's imports are expected to remain flat at 1.0 million tons.

OTHER AFRICA: With production in 2002/03 expected to decline, while consumption remains flat, it is expected that there will be further draw-down in Africa's stocks. Nigeria is projected to keep 2003 imports flat at 1.5 million tons, while import forecasts for Senegal are 250,000 tons lower at 750,000 following the high import estimate of 900,000 tons for 2002.

SOUTH ASIA: Regional production, imports, and ending stocks are forecast to increase while consumption is expected to see only a marginal rise year-to-year. The 2003 imports for Bangladesh are forecast at 500,000 tons, up 100,000 from 2002. The larger imports result from low stocks and only a slight increase in production for 2002/03.

OTHER ASIA: Asia's imports are expected to rise for the third consecutive year, as both declining production and rising consumption trends continue. Stocks are projected to drop 17 million tons to 80 million. With increasing consumption, production projected flat and low stocks, Indonesia is expected to maintain its high import levels. The import forecast for the Philippines is flat, with ample stocks and only a slight reduction in production. Production estimates for Uzbekistan are anticipated to match the consumption increases, therefore keeping import estimates flat.

PAKISTAN: Rice is the largest Kharif summer crop of Pakistan from over an area of about 2.5 million hectares. This constitutes on average about 10 per cent of the total cropped areas. Rice production estimated at 5 million per annum, which accounts for 17 per cent of the total production of the food grains in the country. The share of rice in the value added by major crop stands around 15 per cent. Rice plays a key role in the agrarian economy of Pakistan. It is the second important staple food of the local production. Furthermore, one third of the production is channelized.

The area under rice cultivation in the country in 2002 was 2.2 million hectares, which represent 10 per cent of the total cultivated area. The area in the current year has registered an increase of 1.8 per cent. The increase in Basmati production stood at 9.6 per cent the production rose to 1.48 million tons as against 1.35 million tons last year. Basmati rice is a high export product of Pakistan and generates substantial revenues for the country through export duties.

The Government has adopted a number of policy measures to promote larger production of Basmati. Pakistan has now faced with a serious challenge from India, Thailand and United States in exporting Basmati rice in its traditional export markets and the Government will have to pay much greater attention than ever before to enhance production and maintain its international competitiveness. Research efforts should focus on developing high yielding Basmati varieties that are fertilizer responsive can resist pest attacks, have an improved milling quality and can be harvested relatively quickly to avoid conflict with the following wheat crop. In addition, they should retain their long grain and aromatic qualities that give them a special status in export markets.

The main rice producing areas of Pakistan are (mt): Gujranwala (393470); Shekhupura (379700); Hafizabad (171586); Okara (167000); Jhang (160700); Mundi Bahauddin (116000); Norwal (95796); Gujrat (46700); Pak Pattan (50000); Khushab (27000); Faisalabad (30103); Toba (38190); Kasur (8790); Sahiwal (33900) and Jhelum (1780); Sarghoda (41670).

Area (000 has); Production (000 mt) and yield (kg/has) of all types of rice in the country for the year 2000/01, respectively are: Punjab (1555), (2438) and (1570); Sindh (504), (1680) and (3110); NWFP (68), (129) and (1950); Balochistan (146), (408) and (2795); Pakistan (2308), (4655) and (2016).


The major constraints for low rice productivity are: Low plant population/acre; water logging and salinity; shortage of irrigation water, yield losses caused by insects, pests, diseases and weeds; imbalance use of crop inputs. Some points needed attention to increase rice yield are: To expedite research on release of new varieties; introduction of hybrid rice; judicious use of crop inputs; better cultural practices, control of insect, pest and diseases and post harvest losses.