GrainEx India 2017Italy, the largest rice producer in the 28 members of European Union, expects a 3 percent increase in area planted to rice during the 2016-17. According to the Italian Rice Association, Italy’s rice area was forecast at 234,300 hectares, up from 227,329 hectares in the 2015-16 marketing year. The year on year gain reflects the higher profitability of the rice sector compared to that of corn and soybeans despite severe earthquake in the region affecting thousands of people this year.

According to the Italian Rice Association, “rice cultivation is mostly located in Northern regions of Italy like Piemonte, Lombardia and Veneto where water is relatively abundant and the rice crop can be raised in flooded fields.” It further stated that “approximately 70% of rice varieties grown in Italy are Indica (i.e. Ariete, Drago, Arborio, Baldo, S.Andrea, and Carnaroli), while the remainder are Japonica. Except for rough (unmilled) rice exports and domestic seed sales, virtually all Italian rice is marketed as a whole-kernel milled product.”

The Italian Rice Association forecast says that area planted to round grain Japonica rice is at 70,800 hectares in 2016-17, up 24 percent from 2015-16, while area planted with medium grain Japonica is forecast at 9,750 hectares, up 3 percent from a year ago. However the area planted with long grain Japonica is expected to fall 4.5 percent to 120,150 hectares and long grain Indica area is expected to decrease by 4 percent to 33,600 hectares.