UAE should reduce dependence on Indian rice: Study

According to 2009 statistics, the UAE relies on three main countries for 99 per cent of its rice imports, with India in the lead with a 72 per cent share, while rice from Pakistan accounted for 21 per cent and Thailand's contribution was 6 per cent.

The study emphasised the danger of the country's over- reliance on India for most of its rice imports and suggested increasing Thailand's share, pointing out that there has been a steady growth in the reliance on Indian rice at the expense of Pakistani rice, while Thailand's share remained the same.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade's study reveals that the UAE was the top global re-exporter of rice over the past 5 years (2005-09).

As per the study, the UAE's share of global rice re- exports stood at 93 per cent in 2009, underlining the country's strategic importance in the global rice trade on account of the competitiveness of the UAE's logistical services and the ease of customs procedures.

The study said the value of rice re-exported from the UAE increased from USD 122 million in 2005 (84 per cent of overall global rice re-exports) to USD 515 million in 2008, which translated into 86.3 per cent of all global rice re-exports. This increased even further in 2009 to USD 519 million, which constituted 93 per cent of global rice re-exports of 607,000 tonnes valued at USD 555 million.

The value of re-exported rice from the UAE touched USD 518 million in 2009, registering a slight increase of 0.06 per cent in comparison to 2008.

The study stressed on the need for the UAE to constantly search for new markets for rice re-exports in order to maintain its lead in the re-export of this commodity globally and to develop current markets.

The UAE was also one of the top five global importers of rice during the 2005-2009 period. In 2009, it was the second largest importer, with rice imports valued at USD 1.248 billion, which amounted to 8.8 per cent of all global imports of the commodity.

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