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Source: USDA news release

U.S. rice imports for the 2022/23 marketing year (August-July) are projected to rise 16 percent from a year earlier and to reach the highest volume on record at 44 million hundredweight. Imported rice is also projected to account for almost 32 percent of domestic use of rice in 2022/23, the highest share on record. Imports of long-grain and the combined classes of short- and medium-grain rice are projected at all-time highs.

For long-grain rice, the dominant class of rice grown and consumed in the United States, growing consumer preference for Asian aromatic rice, such as jasmine rice from Thailand and basmati rice from India and Pakistan, has driven the increase in import purchases. In addition to the long-grain Asian aromatic varieties, the United States has been importing a much smaller volume of regular milled long-grain rice from South American suppliers.

For the combined medium- and short-grain rice classes, a 41-percent expansion of imports is projected for 2022/23. Increasing imports are spurred by reduced production in California, where a second consecutive year of drought has reduced the size of the rice harvest and available domestic supplies. The California rice crop is forecast down 38 percent from a year earlier and is expected to be the smallest crop since 1977/78.

California grows almost exclusively medium- and short-grain rice and typically accounts for around 70 percent of U.S. medium- and short-grain production. The United States regularly imports medium- and short-grain rice from Thailand, India, China, and Italy, with nearly all the rice from China going to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

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