Saudi rice market has become a battle ground with exporters fighting
to dominate a market worth SR2.5 billion according to last year’s
battle has intensified since the entry of high quality Australian and
Pakistani rice into a market traditionally dominated by Indians who
controlled 65 percent of the business.
price war has led to the adulteration of high quality Indian Basmati
with low quality varieties which is then sold at a low price,
according to a market source.
sales promotion manager at the Al-Muhaideb Food Company, Muhammad
Abdul Rahman, said the highest quality Basmati rice was hardly found
in Saudi Arabia now because of its high price.
price makes it uneconomic to compete with adulterated rice sold at a
much lower price.
is further alleged that rice exporters send their products to the Gulf
with little regard for quality as long as the commodity is in demand.
Saudi market is particularly attractive to exporters because of the
country’s economic stability and facilities for transportation and
credit which use the latest techniques.
to another market source, exporters from India, the United States,
Egypt, Australia, Pakistan, Thailand, Iran and others are making every
effort to dominate the largest market in the Gulf region.
Indian grain-exporting company, L.T. Overseas, attributed higher oil
prices to the increasing demand for top quality rice such as Punjabi
Amber and Basmati in the Gulf.
Arabia is the largest importer of Indian Basmati — 400,000 tons last
year. In addition to
domestic consumption, Saudi Arabian traders also re-export the rice.
Indian Basmati sold at SR2,800 a ton encounters stiff
competition from Pakistani Basmati priced at SR1,875.
Arabia is expected to consume 1.3 million tons of imported rice by the
year 2005. The expected increase in the number of pilgrims because of
new Umrah regulations is also an additional reason for increased rice
consumption in the Kingdom.
is the largest rice exporter to the Kingdom with 65 percent of the
market. The US holds second place with 12 percent followed by Pakistan
with 11.3 percent, Thailand with 8.3 percent and Australia with 2.4