NRIs were seen taking home dozens of bags of rice fearing shortages in the coming months. In some places, a 9kg bag of rice sells for $27.
Snaking queues were seen at major wigwam shops in major cities in Texas, Michigan and New Jersey, where the Telugu population is concentrated. Inundated with customers ordering only rice, Indian shops even imposed restrictions on sales saying only one bag of rice would be sold per customer.
The situation is slightly better in Alabama and Illinois. Snigdha Gudavalli, from the city of Denton, Texas, said they had to wait more than 30 minutes in line just to get into the store. “By the time we entered, Sona Mahsuri had been sold and we bought the boiled Ponni variety,” she said.
Krishna Mohan S from Detroit faced a similar situation. He said that the reason for the panic could be twofold. One, there may be a shortage or lack of supply of fine variety rice like Sona Mahsuri and there is a good chance that prices will rise. “We have witnessed prices skyrocket during the pandemic. With that precedent, people are rushing to save rice in advance,” he said.
Jayanth Reddy Mettu, who runs a restaurant in Dublin, Ireland, told TOI that there was no mad rush in either the UK or Ireland. However, Telugus are concerned about a possible price hike in the coming months.
S Ramakrishna Prasad from Dubai also noted that there was still no shortage of supplies from Sona Mahsuri. However, the main concern now is that there could be a further increase in rice prices, which are already on the higher side since Covid-19.