Thousands of NRIs in the United States and Canada took to grocery stores to stock up on their supplies of rice after the Indian government banned the export of non-basmati white rice on Thursday, 20 July.
The Centre took this decision in a bid to stabilise the uncertain prices in the country. Rice production has been severely impacted due to extremely heavy rain in rice-producing states across north India and a deficit of rainfall in other parts of the country. However, the government has exempted parboiled rice from the ban.
The Centre said that the ban was put into effect to "ensure adequate availability of non-basmati white rice in the Indian market and to allay the rise in prices in the domestic market," The Hindu reported.
Several US media reports stated that bags of rice flew off shelves across grocery stores, with the buyers being mostly Asians as it comprises a staple food for them.
Unable to meet the demands of 'panic buying', a store owner in Ohio's Mason town enforced rationing by asking consumers to restrict their purchases to one bag of ordinary white rice weighing 9.07 kg and costing $24, one such report stated.
(With inputs from The Hindu.)