Most rice produced in the world are consumed domestically, and only five percent of rice produced in the world enters the global market. It is a very volatile market, and its players changes every year. All exported rice are leftover rice, meaning that countries will consume as much rice as they need first before selling it abroad. This also means that countries that produce more rice are not necessarily the biggest exporters.
The search for suitable rice buyer and seller is an arduous process. So some buyers and sellers use specialist rice brokers to conduct business. Brokers earn commission on deals they arrange for clients. This differentiates them from rice traders, who buys, ships and sells rice from and to different regions. The shipping component is especially important because while buying and selling rice is a challenge, shipping and insurance is different beast altogether. Developing world inadequacies such as inefficient ports and broken roads adds complexity to the entire process, subsequently increasing the final rice price.
Currently, the top three exporters of the grain are India, the United States, and Pakistan. Meanwhile, the top three importers are China, the United Arab Emirates, and Benin. Indonesia is also among the top importers. It is important to note that the top exporters are not necessarily the top producer. Conversely, the top importers are not necessarily the top consumer. China, for one, produces nearly a third of the world’s total rice. All it means to be a top exporter is that the nation consumes not as much rice as it produces, allowing it to have enough leftover rice to sell abroad.