Presidential Hopeful of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), Simeon Freeman, has warned the Government and people of Liberia of a serious looming rice crisis due to the ban the world biggest exporters, Indian Government placed on the exportation of rice.
According to Mr. Freeman, Liberia is expected to undergo serious rice shortage and food insecurity as a result of India’s refusal to export rice due to some global factors.
Speaking Monday, August 7, 2023 in a major state of the Nation Address on Prime FM and relayed on several media institutions across the country, the opposition politician disclosed that Indian is the biggest importer of rice in the word and it is also Liberia biggest partner in term of rice importation.
“I am not President but my greatest worry today is we are going to find it difficult in getting rice going forward, especially in December. Indian has banned the exportation of rice. Indian did that about two weeks ago and you know what that means for Liberia. Currently, Indian is the biggest exporters of rice in the world,” Mr. Freeman further disclosed.
The top five rice exporting countries in the world include India, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and the United States of America which generate three-quarters (72.8%) of the global value for rice exports during 2022.
The statistics indicates: India: US$10.8 billion (36.8% of total rice exports), Thailand: $4 billion (13.5%), Vietnam: $2.5 billion (8.6%), and Pakistan: $2.4 billion (8%). Others include the United States: $1.7 billion (5.8%), China: $1 billion (3.5%), Italy: $804.7 million (2.7%), Myanmar: $786.8 million (2.7%), Brazil: $657.5 million (2.2%).
Furthermore, Belgium: $515.6 million (1.8%), Uruguay: $498 million (1.7%), Cambodia: $416 million (1.4%), Netherlands: $385 million (1.3%), Paraguay: $293.4 million (1%), Spain: $238 million (0.8%).
By value, the above 15 countries were responsible for 92% of globally exported rice in 2022.
The MPC political leader explained that the Indian Government’s ban is as a result of the war that is currently ongoing between Ukraine and Russia.
Also, he said that the Indian Government pointed out that their reason to ban the exportation of rice is due to the climatic condition, therefore, they are keeping their rice, sugar and other agriculture products to themselves until those crisis can be handled.
However, Mr. Freeman suggested that in order for Liberia to prevent this looming rice crisis, the country should prioritize and invest in agriculture.
“We should now learn from this and invest in agriculture because we are doom for serious crisis. We have kill President in this country because of rice and so this government needs to be careful and find means to handle this looming rice crisis. What I want to do in my administration is to integrate opportunity for Liberian to prevent urban migration,” he stated.
Mr. Freeman described Liberia as a manufacturer of poverty, adding that every after six years Liberia makes foreigner rice while the people are poor because there is no opportunity for Liberians.