Rice trading in the Middle East

The Gulf countries have been a significant market for rice trading for over 50 years. Rice trade still holds a fundamental position in the GCC food sector and is steadily growing over the past few years. Here are some facts about the present day rice trading in the Gulf and what makes rice trading is so popular in this part of the world.

  • Saudi Arabia is the largest importer of rice in the GCC accounting for 51% of all imports followed by the UAE (23%), Kuwait (9%) and other countries (17%).

  • In the UAE alone, 600 thousand MT of rice was consumed in 2015/16 crop year and the rice consumption is expected to substantially increase to 836 thousand MT in 2016/17.

  • The prolific demand of rice in the GCC comes from the huge Asian population settled in the GCC especially from the Indian, Bangladeshi and Filipino community. Rice is a staple food for these Asain consumers and for many rice is an integral part of all meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • The rice is a popular food item in the Arabic cuisine and the demand spikes up exceptionally during the holy month of Ramadan. The growing awareness of healthy lifestyle has also increased rice consumption in the gulf region, particularly amongst those avoiding gluten.

rice wholesale distribution in Dubai Mugatlal Pandya
  • The excessive import of rice in the Gulf countries is not entirely consumed by the residents. A certain chunk rice imports is reexported to neighbouring countries and across the globe.

  • The UAE reexports about 30% of its rice imports and it is the largest re-exporter of rice in the world, accounting for 81% of global rice re-exports.

  • Basmati rice is the most popular variety of rice consumed in the Middle East. The phenomenal growth in sales of Basmati rice has resulted in the Indian Basmati market propel from a simple commodity status to a branded commodity.

  • Unlike UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait that have a greater demand for raw rice, Saudi Arabia largely imports parboiled rice also called Sella rice.

  • High food wastage has been an issue in the Gulf countries, and rice, in particular, amounts to huge wasted quantities because of banquets, celebrations and social occasions. Around 700,000 tonnes of rice is wasted per year in Saudi Arabia according to a data revealed in 2016.

Mugatlal P Pandya has been a rice distributor in the Middle East since 1974. We have established a robust supplier network across several countries enabling us to distribute high quality rice brands in UAE, Oman and Qatar. To know more or to place rice orders call us on 0097150 8497414

  • http://www.dubaichamber.com/resources/research-reports/research_market_monitors
  • http://arabbusinessreview.com/en/article/growth-indian-basmati-rice-market-arab-world
  • http://www.fruitnet.com/eurofruit/article/168950/ramadan-brings-consumption-spike
  • http://www.arabnews.com/node/948626/saudi-arabia