India’s new ban on certain rice imports is being felt in North Texas, a reminder of the great toilet paper panic of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Driving the news: Last week, India banned exports of non-basmati white rice to “allay the rise in prices in the domestic market,” officials said.
The country is the world’s largest exporter of rice, and its ban has triggered fear of a rise in global food prices, per The Guardian.
State of play: Rice is a staple in many South Asian cultures, and local South Asian grocery stores sell several brands and types of rice to cater to a variety of customers.
Though India’s ban doesn’t include all types of rice, news of panicked shoppers buying dozens of bags of rice at South Asian grocery stores lit up WhatsApp groups and social media over the weekend.
Zoom in: People flooded local stores including Patel Brothers and India Bazaar to stock up on rice, concerned that India’s ban may result in higher prices or limit its availability later on.
Some local grocery stores have imposed limits on rice purchases.
And: The fallout is affecting big-box stores as well. The Costco Business Center in Dallas sold almost six pallets of Royal basmati rice Saturday as shoppers packed their carts with 20-pound and 40-pound bags.
“It was just a run on rice,” an employee told Axios.
The store is expecting a shipment of rice on Friday.