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Rice shortage: There is a ‘real risk’ Australian rice supply will not meet demand this year


Australia faces a domestic rice shortage, with drought, water reform and now the pandemic putting pressure on the supply chain for the food staple.

Currently, Australia faces the second worst rice output on record, and COVID-19 has led to a spike in demand for rice.

President of the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia, Rob Massina, said this year domestic rice output will only fulfill about a quarter of demand.

“Australia, typically, domestically will consume about 200,000 tonnes of Australian rice,” he told 3AW’s Ross and John.

“This year we will be looking at only growing around 50,000 tonnes.

“There’s a real risk by the end of this calendar year we will be out of Australian domestic rice on Australian supermarket shelves.”

Australian supplies of rice to neighbouring countries are also under threat.

“We’ve actually had a long obligation over 50 odd years to supply a food staple to the Pacific Islands and we continue to do that,” Mr Massina said.

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