UK could be hit with a basmati rice shortage due to coronavirus restrictions in India and Pakistan

BRITS could be facing a shortage of dry and microwavable basmati riceproducts due to lockdown restrictions in India and Pakistan.

Both countries have banned all food exports while the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing meaning that the UK is currently relying on reserves imported before the lockdown to keep supermarket shelves stocked.

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Almost all of the world's supply of basmati rice is grown in these two countries, which is often packaged by manufacturers abroad.

Basmati is the most popular rice variety in the UK, according to the Rice Association, and a shortage could push up the price of both microwavable and dry rice products.

Distributors had been stockpiling the grain earlier in the year over fears the coronavirus outbreak could cause disruption to supplies.

Managing director of food distributor S&B Herba Foods, which owns rice brand Tilda, told The Grocer: "The stock that's due to come in, there will be a delay and almost certainly in my opinion, there will be shortages. Particularly on basmati."

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He also warned that restrictions preventing people from working will further delay ships from leaving the ports.

Other varieties of rice are so far unaffected by the shortage, such as long grain, which is mainly imported to the UK from the USA, Italy, Spain and Thailand.

Back in March panic buying and stockpiling shoppers stripped shelves of dried cupboard goods including rice and pasta.

The grain is slowly appearing back on supermarket shelves after retailers limited the number of products shoppers could buy in one go to stop running out of supplies.

India's population of 1.3billion were put into lockdown in March, just days after the UK.

Experts fear that the death toll could reach 300million as the country struggled to stop the transmission of the virus due to its dense population.

In March, the United Nations warned that the COVID-19 outbreak could cause a global food shortage as countries hoard their produce while they deal with the pandemic.

A coffee shortage could also be on the horizon for the UK due to the lockdowns in South America, which has restricted movement so workers aren't able to travel to farms to harvest the beans.

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