Top Rice Exporting And Importing Countries

India is the largest rice exporting country and neighboring China is the largest rice importing country in the world as of 2016/17.

Rice is a very important cereal grain that is consumed as a staple food in many parts of the world by a large section of the human population. Rice refers to the seed of the Oryza sativa grass species of Asia or the Oryza glaberrima grass species of Africa. After sugarcane and maize, rice is the third highest produced agricultural commodity in the world.

History Of Rice

Wild rice, the ancestor of domesticated rice, is possibly native to Australia. The rice was first domesticated about 8,200 to 13,500 years ago in Ancient China’s Pearl River Valley. From here, the cultivation of rice spread to Southeast Asia and South Asia. European colonization helped introduce rice into Europe and the Americas.

Production Of Rice

In 2012, the world produced about 738.1 million tons of rice. About 162.3 million hectares of land was dedicated to rice cultivation in the same year. In 2012, 4.5 tons per hectare was the average farm yield for rice.

Export Of Rice

Developing countries are the major players in the world rice trade. Only about 1% of the rice produced globally is traded. Developing countries account for about 83% of exports and 85% imports of rice. While many countries are significant importers of rice, only five countries are the major rice exporters. The ranking of these countries by export volume of rice has greatly altered over the years. In 2002, Thailand, Vietnam, China, the US, and India, the five top rice exporters in decreasing order of exported quantities, were responsible for about three-quarters of the world’s rice exports. In 2010, however, the three top exporters were Thailand, Vietnam, and India. By 2012, India became the world’s top rice exporter while Thailand slipped to the third position after Vietnam. The three countries accounted for 70% of the world’s rice exports.

According to the latest figures of 2016/2017, the five principal rice exporting countries in the world are India, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, and the United States in decreasing order of amount of rice exported. The primary variety of rice exported by India is the aromatic Basmati variety. Thailand and Vietnam specialize in the export of the Jasmine variety of rice.

The Top Rice Importing Nations

According to the latest figures, the major importers of rice in the world are China, Nigeria, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines. China leads the world's countries in rice imports by importing 5,000,000 metric tons of rice in 2016/17.

Which Country Exports the Most Rice?

India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Pakistan export more rice than any other country.

Top Rice Exporting And Importing Countries

RankExporting CountryAmount Of Rice Exported (2016/17), in 1000 metric tonsImporting CountryAmount Of Rice Imported (2016/17), in 1000 metric tons
4Pakistan4,200European Union1,850
5United States3,550Saudi Arabia1,550
7Cambodia1,000Cote d’Ivoire1,350

About the Author

Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.


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