World Rice Production & Trade in Brief

Discover the key figures on worldwide rice production and trade, and how to improve yields and best ensure quality control throughout the supply chain.

Rice is a leading crop, along with wheat and corn, constituting a major food staple for half of the world’s population1. In some regions, economic growth, political stability as well as food security largely depend on it2: it’s a strategic commodity.

Key Figures - World Rice Production & Trade

According to the USDA3, approximatively 500 million tons of milled rice have been produced globally during the 2019/2020 marketing year. This production is stable year on year (+1% projected in 2020/2021). Production and consumption are concentrated in Asia; China and South-East Asia in particular.

China is the largest producer, accounting for 30% of the production, followed by India (24%), Bangladesh (7%), Indonesia (7%), Vietnam (5%) and Thailand (4%).

In terms of consumption, the ranking is similar: China is the largest consumer (29% of the global consumption), followed by India (21%), Bangladesh (7%), Indonesia (7%), Vietnam (4%) and the Philippines (3%).

Export patterns are a little different4. From the 44 million of tons of milled rice exported in 2019/2020, India is the top exporting country with 13 million of tons, accounting for 30% of the global exports. Vietnam (15%) and Thailand (13%) are on the winners’ podium too. They are followed by Pakistan (9%) and the USA (7%). China is in 6th place (6%),followed by Myanmar with a 5% share.

There is no particular importing country standing out from the crowd, however significant importers to be mentioned are the Philippines (6% of world imports), the European Union (5%), China (5%), followed by Malaysia (3%), Côte d’Ivoire (3%), Iran (3%), Iraq (3%), Nigeria (3%), Saudi Arabia (3%), Senegal (3%) and the USA (3%).

Ensuring Rice Yields, Quality & Traceability from Seeds to Shelves

From planting to consumption, via harvesting and transport, there are many steps required to grow and commercialise rice.

Cotecna, as an independent inspection, testing & certification company, is present in all key rice markets and at each stage of the supply chain to help industry players minimise risks due to delay, loss and damages, while maximising crops’ returns and protecting the safety of end-users.

Indeed, various factors will influence the rice production and quality during the different growth phases (from seedling to maturing), including temperatures ranges, solar radiations, rainfalls, day-length or soil fertility. Proper land preparation and management of parameters such as inputs and water are essential. The rice variety used (e.g. white, fragrant, glutinous, parboiled, brown, Japonica, specialty) and seed quality are of paramount importance as well5.

To help farmers optimise yields and take business decisions on time, Cotecna can perform crop surveys for both conventional and organic rice productions. The report will include estimation of acreage, production and yields of the targeted crop in the inspected area. These reports also provide information such as crop & weather conditions or price expectations.

After the harvest completion, drying, processing and storage conditions should also be closely monitored. Cotecna can supervise the paddy processing in order to increase the return of the processed paddy, maintain the quality & traceability from the field and reduce the risk of rejection of the finished products.

Upstream, Cotecna also offers fumigation services at Government or privately-owned warehouses6, as well as stock monitoring services used by rice millers & exporters to get their stock financed by the banks.

While rice is leaving exporters’ warehouses to container terminals, or barged for vessel loading at downstream or anchorage, our experts will supervise the stuffing of containers or the barging process, including the verification of the packaging conditions and markings of rice bags. We will also inspect the containers or barges’ suitability (especially their tightness, cleanliness and odour) and the monitoring of the loading process onboard the vessel.

At the ports of destination, our experienced surveyors will also perform damage surveys and provide recommendations to end-buyers.

For some destinations7, mandatory Certificate of Conformity (CoC) will be requested to

obtain custom clearance. Cotecna runs a series of Verification of Conformity (VOC) programmes designed to ensure that the quality and safety regulations are met, including in Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia.

At every step, inspectors also perform sampling operations. Samples are sent to ISO 17025 / GAFTA accredited laboratories to be analysed. Cotecna also provide on-spot testing.

Different types of analyses can be performed, as per clients’ requirements:

  • Physical testing, such as visual tests (to determine the grade and segregate the grains based on their physical characteristics: shape, length, breadth and overall appearance), cooking tests (segregation of grains based on their typical cooking characteristics: elongation, water absorption, breakage) and colour/milling yield determination;
  • Chemical testing, such as DNA analysis (used for example to determine genuine specialty rice such as Basmati), GMO, pesticides, Alkali Spreading Value etc.

Testing ensures contractual quality standards are met, and all local and national rules and regulations adhered to.

Finally, by means of supervision, testing, inspection, assessment and certification, Cotecna can also provide rice producers & operators with an organic certificate to promote the proper designation of products they have produced / processed following recognised sustainable methods. This is also an interesting marketing tool leading to higher prices expectations.

Each organic system has its own organic standards. Cotecna has integrated the standards of 3 systems into one called "Cotecna Organic Standards": it covers the organic standards of Thailand, as well as those of the European Union and “Bio Suisse” (Switzerland).

Cotecna Organic Standards also cover the certified organic distributors, ensuring organic products are produced without synthetic fertilisers / conventional pesticides, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering (GMO’s).

At Cotecna, integrity and business ethics are fundamental to the way we do business. Our Business Ethics and Compliance Code includes standards for technical and professional conduct, including on how to manage conflict of interests and protect clients’ confidential information.

For further information about our wide range of tailor-made solutions for milled, rough and specialty rice shipments, in containers or in bulk, from their origin to their destination, please contact our experts at


1 Ricepedia, The global staple, <>
2 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), A regional rice strategy for sustainable
food security in Asia and the Pacific, 2014 <>
3 United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Services, PSD Reports, World Rice Production, Consumption and Stocks, 10.11.2020, <>
4 United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Services, PSD Reports, World Rice: Supply and Demand, 10.11.2020, <>
5 FAO, Factors affecting wetland rice production and the classification of wetlands for agricultural production, Van Nguu Nguyen, <>
6 For selected locations, please contact us.
7 Please contact us to learn more about our VOC programmes.