The Ricegrowers' Association of Australia finds the ABARES Insights Report on Australian food security released today is misleading in its assurances that rice shortages are due only to panic buying, and that Australia is not at risk of a supply shortfall.
The report fails to draw on the most recent international developments affecting global rice stocks and trade in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and fails to recognise the impacts of water policy reform and drought in driving down Australian rice production in 2019 and 2020.
Some rice exporting nations, including Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, are now restricting exports due to their COVID-19 food security concerns amid persistent drought.
ABARES has failed to include an important cautionary note in the most recent International Grains Council’s COVID-19 statement, dated 26 March: ‘The Council's projections for supply and demand are tentative until the progress and duration of the pandemic become clearer’. https://www.igc.int/en/gmr_summary.aspx