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Last updated at 10:56 GMT, Friday, 20 November 2009

India to import rice grains


20 November 2009

India will import rice for the first time in 20 years. The Indian government says it is in talks with countries such as Thailand and Vietnam to explore the possibility of importing rice from them.

Sanjoy Majumder

Rice fields in India

Rice fields in Bangalore, India


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India is the world's second largest rice producer and is also a major exporter. But this year, the country has been hit by the worst drought in nearly 40 years - because of which rice production is expected to fall by 18%.

So now it's planning to import the grain for the first time in two decades. The government says it has enough supplies to feed its population but wants to take the step to shore up its buffer stocks.

The country's Trade Minister, Anand Sharma, said that India was in touch with several countries and a final decision was likely to be made in a couple of days.

Sanjoy Majumder, BBC News, Delhi


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a major exporter

here, a country that sells a lot of rice abroad

hit by

seriously affected by


when there is no rain for a long time

to import

to buy from abroad

two decades

20 years (a decade is a period of ten years)


the amount, or number of services or goods (here, the quantity of rice) available in a market at a particular time

to shore up

here, to increase (literally, if you shore something up, you support it to stop it failing)

buffer stocks

extra, or reserve supplies of a basic commodity (here, rice grains) held for use when normal supplies are short

was in touch with


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