India is forecast to consolidate its position among the world’s leading exporters of rice (its top export), though the volume of exports has been erratic since the mid nineties (depending on the size of the crop and on domestic consumption). Currently it is the second largest rice producer after China and the third largest net-exporter after Thailand and Vietnam.

FAPRI expects it to increase its world market share from 16% to 20% by 2015 as area and yields increase and per capita consumption declines. OECD meanwhile takes a more conservative view of production prospects and therefore of export potential. FAPRI’s1 and OECD’s projections for the global rice trade.

For sugar a big change is expected with India forecast to switch from being a net importer to a net exporter (over 2 million tonnes).

Its world market share is expected to rise from 4% to 6% over the coming decade, thanks to robust growth in production (second only to Brazil’s) and a slowdown in consumption growth. For soya meal India’s world market position is relatively stable and it is expected to stay at about 6% world market share (FAPRI).

Indian buffalo beef exports are projected to grow as production rises faster than demand, with world market share for beef stable at around 11%. On the dairy side, net exports of butter and SMP will also grow. For butter although there is a strong increase in production, this is in response to surging demand growth, so India remains a small net exporter. On the other hand it becomes a significant net exporter of SMP, with its share of world trade rising from 4% to 6%.

Turning to imports, in 2006/07 India became a net importer of wheat having been a net exporter for the 5 years previously. However it is not expected to be a big net exporter in the coming decade. For dairy there may be opportunities for EU in the future. If an EU-Indian FTA is agreed, then, given changing consumer habits, India is a potential market for EU exports of high quality processed milk products.

Last but not least, India is projected to remain a leading vegetable oils importer, absorbing one quarter of world soybean oil imports and 14% of palm oil imports. Although the share does not increase much over the projection period, this masks an increase in imports from 5 million tonnes to 6-8 million tonnes by 2016/17, given the expansion in world trade in vegetable oils. Indian consumption of vegetable oils has grown faster than production since the mid-nineties and the trend is expected to continue. Combined with the recent hike in prices, this could lead to a doubling of India’s vegetable oil import bill in 10 years.

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