African countries may face rice shortages due to rising food prices brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic.
African countries may face rice shortages due to rising food prices brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rice prices have risen 20%-45% in Asian producers last year coupled with demand for lower-quality rice as an alternative animal feed and rising shipping costs could create problems for countries that import grains such as those in Africa.
Food and Agriculture Organization’s rice economist Shirley Mustafa warned that logistical bottlenecks could cause supply problems.
Aside from logistics, shipping there is also a container shortage which is a vital factor in transporting rice and other foods.
Due to lack of containers, unloading and loading would eat up time and increase shipping prices for suppliers and importers.
Since Africa mainly sips from India and South Asia, the container shortage there could make importation more expensive.
According to an analysis of pre-Covid and post-Covid freight conducted by AIREA, freight to African ports has gone up by 38% to 475%.
“From Pakistan for example, we used to pay $850 or $900 per container. Now, we’re looking at $1,650 to $2,100 per container,” said Mital Shah, managing director of Kenya-based Sunrice, one of East Africa’s largest rice importers.