40,000 MT of rice from India to reach SL

  • 40,000 MT of rice from India to reach SL COLOMBO (News 1st); The Ministry of Trade said that another 40,000 MT of rice imported via the Indian Line of Credit will reach Sri Lanka on Monday (11). The secretary to the Ministry of Trades, Bhadrani Jayawardena stated that the stock will be sold through Sathosa outlets as soon as it is received. 1kg of Nadu and Kekulu rice is sold at Rs.110/- and 1kg of Samba is sold at Rs.130/- through Sathosa. Meanwhile, the Association of Importers of Essential Commodities said that all essential commodities required by the people during the New Year season have been distributed throughout the island. The spokesman of the Association of Importers of Essential Commodities, Nihal Seneviratne said that there could be a slight shortage of milk powder. He also said that the prices of essential commodities will be reduced in the future.
  • Sri Lanka crisis: India begins shipment of rice to crisis-hit island nation

  • The rice is being offered under a credit line of $1 billion to Sri Lanka announced by India recently towards the purchase of food, medicine and other essential commodities. Of this credit line, $150 million is earmarked for rice supplies to Sri Lanka.

    India begins shipment of rice to crisis-hit Sri Lanka India has commenced shipment of around 40,000 tonne of rice to Sri Lanka to help ease shortage of essential food commodities in the country facing an acute fiscal challenge and economic turmoil. According to B V Krishna Rao, president, Rice Exporters Association, India will provide 0.3 million tonne (mt) of rice to Sri Lanka over the next six months. “All the rice shipments to Sri Lanka will be carried out through ports such as Kakinada, Tuticorin, Chennai and other posts in the southern region,” Rao told FE. The rice is being offered under a credit line of $1 billion to Sri Lanka announced by India recently towards the purchase of food, medicine and other essential commodities. Of this credit line, $150 million is earmarked for rice supplies to Sri Lanka. “As of now, supply of around 40,000 tonne of rice to Sri Lanka has been finalised under the credit line. The first consignment of rice under this framework is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka in the coming days,” according to a statement by the High Commission of India, Colombo. Trade sources said India can ship rice to Sri Lanka within days while for other countries it would at least take a few weeks to export rice. This rice shipment from India is expected to bring down the price of grain in the island nation ahead of Sinhalese New Year, which will be celebrated on April 14. India is also expected to supply other agricultural commodities such as sugar and wheat to Sri Lanka in the coming months. According to a senior official, this assistance in terms of rice shipment is seen as ‘humanitarian measure to help the Sri Lankan people during a difficult time’. Sri Lanka has become a net importer of rice as its production sharply fell after it banned all chemical fertilisers in May 2021 for making the island nation’s agriculture sector to 100% organic cultivation. Following reports of a drop in production of various agricultural commodities because of the banning of fertiliser use, the Sri Lankan government partially lifted a ban on imports of fertiliser and allowed the private sector to import it. India has been the world’s largest rice exporter in the last decade — export earnings stood at a record $8.7 billion in 2020-21 and crossed $9.6 billion in 2021-22. India exported agricultural commodities such as onion, wheat, pulses, basmati rice and processed fruit products worth of $150 million to Sri Lanka in 2020-21.
  • Rice exporters face twin challenges after record 17-mt shipment

  • The number of vessels docked at Kakinada port, a major rice loading point on the eastern coast, fell to three from 10 last year (file image)

    Higher freight, return of Thailand to international market weigh on supplies from India

    Exporters of Indian non-basmati rice, after shipping close to 17 million tonnes in 2021-22, are facing the twin challenges of higher freight cost and the return of Thailand, a major supplier, to the international market in the current financial year. This may lead to a decline of 10-15 per cent in shipments, exporters said. As per the latest official data available till end-February for the financial year 2021-22, non-basmati shipments grew by around 40 per cent to 15.61 million tonnes, from 11.17 million tonnes a year ago. In dollar terms, non-basmati rice shipments were up 35.2 per cent at $5.551 billion in April-February 2021-22 against $4.105 billion a year ago. “We will be touching close to 17 million tonnes for fiscal 2021-22, a new record over the previous year’s 13 million tonnes,” said BV Krishna Rao, President, The Rice Exporters Association. The export data for March comes with a lag. The target for the year was 16 million tonnesr. On the outlook for the new financial year, Rao said high freight costs remain a concern and supplies from Thailand have resumed, posing a challenge to Indian exporters.

    Govt needs to help

    “Last year, Thailand did not have a good crop due to bad weather. But this year, they have made a comeback and are giving a good fight,” Rao said, adding that Indian shipments will be lower this year by 10-15 per cent. “We are unlikely to maintain 17 million tonnes unless the Government helps other countries buy more rice, like it did for Sri Lanka,” Rao added. Freight rates have moved up from last year as fuel costs have surged, triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Rao said the higher vessel rates have forced buyers, mainly in Africa, to adopt a wait-and-watch approach. Freight rates have gone up from around $90 per tonne to around $140, while rice prices are largely stable. “The buyer is not keen on paying the extra $50 and would wait for vessel prices to come down,” Rao said. This is reflected in the decline in the number of vessels docked at the Kakinada port, one of the major rice loading points on the eastern coast. “Usually, at least 10 vessels in Kakinada were being loaded last year around this time. Now there are only three.” Trade sources said Indian rice shipments are already slowing, going by the numbers in February, when non-basmati shipments fell 1.4 per cent to 1.618 million tonnes (1.641 million tonnes a year ago). Free-on-board (FOB) parboiled rice from Indian ports is quoted at $365 per tonne ($370-380) . White rice prices are hovering at $335-340 per tonne, at around last year’s levels. Broken rice prices have moved up from $270 per tonne FOB to $315-320. “Only broken rice prices have moved up as it is witnessing good demand due to high corn prices,” Rao said. The demand for brokens, which is used for feed ingredients, is from China, Indonesia and Africa among other regions.
  • India invokes peace clause for 3rd time as rice subsidies exceed cap

  • India has for the third time invoked the peace clause for exceeding the 10% ceiling on support it offered its rice farmers. The country informed the WTO that the value of its rice production in 2020-21 was $45.56 billion while it gave subsidies worth $6.9 billion, which comes out to 15.14% as against the permitted 10%. The peace clause protects India's food procurement programmes against action from WTO members in case the subsidy ceilings are breached. New Delhi had first invoked the clause in 2020 when it became the first country to do so. New Delhi told the WTO on Friday the stocks under the programme are acquired and released to meet the domestic food security needs of India's poor and vulnerable population, and not to impede commercial trade or food security of others.
  • Asia rice: India rates unchanged, Vietnam prices fall on rising supplies

  • BENGALURU/BANGKOK/HANOI/MUMBAI/DHAKA: Export prices of rice in India were unchanged this week amid prospects of increased supplies and an appreciation in the rupee, while an increase in stocks weighed on rates in Vietnam. Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $367 to $370 per tonne this week, unchanged from the last week. “Since the government has extended subsidised food grain distribution by six months, local supplies will rise and prices will remain under pressure,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $400-$415 per tonne on Thursday, down from $415-$420 per tonne a week ago. “Domestic supplies are rising thanks to output from the winter-spring harvest,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding that quality has been affected due to prolonged rain during the harvest time. Preliminary shipping data showed 72,000 tonnes of rice were scheduled to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port during the first week of April, with most of the grains were heading to the Philippines and Africa. Vietnam’s rice exports in the first quarter are estimated to have increased 24% from a year earlier to 1.475 million tonnes, raising revenue by 10.5% to $715 million. Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices narrowed to $408-$410 per tonne this week, from $408-$412 quoted a week ago. Overseas demand for Thai rice has been muted due to insufficient ships and high freight rates, traders said. Prices, however, remained high on domestic demand for broken rice used for animal feed due to logistic problems with imports, a Bangkok-based rice trader said. The supply situation remains unchanged with the new harvest entering the market this week, traders said. In Bangladesh, domestic prices of rice rose for the week, despite good crop and reserves, as inflation in February hit the highest since October 2020.
  • FCI won’t procure parboiled rice, States can do so: Centre

  • The Centre, however, clarified that the States could procure parboiled rice for consumption within the State. Image for representational purpose only. (File Photo) HYDERABAD: Dashing all hopes of the State government, the Centre has once again made it clear that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) would not procure parboiled rice from any State, including Telangana. The Centre, however, clarified that the States could procure parboiled rice for consumption within the State. In a written reply to BJP MP Dushyant Singh on procuring surplus parboiled rice during Question Hour in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said that after meeting State’s requirement for Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS), only the excess/surplus stocks procured by the State government/its agencies were handed over to the FCI in central pool in the form of raw or parboiled rice to meet the overall consumption requirement of the country as per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Central government and Decentralised Procurement (DCP) States. “Due to burgeoning stock level of parboiled rice in the central pool, the States were informed that FCI will not be in a position to accept parboiled rice during Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2021-22. However, a State can procure parboiled rice for consumption within that State. In the last few years, procurement of parboiled rice in the deficit parboiled consuming States like Jharkhand, Kerala and Tamil Nadu has increased resulting in lesser movement of parboiled rice from surplus to deficit States,” the Minister said. Ethanol policy In its action plan for Rabi Marketing Season 2022-23, the FCI suggested the State govt to adopt a good ethanol policy as broken rice is suitable for the production of ethanol. The FCI also asked the State to enhance its storage capacities like Punjab and Haryana. 
  • India’s natural, organic farming strategy for rice and wheat

  • This can help in targeting global export market, thereby feeding the world population and getting valuable foreign exchange for the country India’s natural, organic farming strategy for rice and wheat Photo: iStock India is predominantly agrarian — 80 per cent of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. Rice and wheat are the staple for 90 per cent of the country’s people.  Till the early 1960’s, the predominant mode of cultivation was what is now called “organic farming”, with no synthetic fertilisers or pesticides available or known.  At that time, farmers relied on cow dung, twigs of leguminous plants like Crotalaria junceaTephrosianeem and jeelugu. These materials mulched the fields ploughed for rice plantation. Oil cakes of groundnut, castor, neem were also used which is a good source of nitrogen.  Since the use of urea from the beginning of the 1960s, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium-based fertilisers became available after the establishment of industrial plants at Sindri (Bihar) Udyog Mandal (Kerala).

    Fortunately, in this decade, synthetic pesticides like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), endrin, and others entered the market. Another spectacular discovery was that of the high-yielding hybrid wheat and rice. The high-yielding wheat was discovered by Norman Borlaug (Nobel Prize winner) and was rapidly adopted by India largely due to the pioneering work of Dr Swaminathan and MV Rao. 

    Swaminathan is remembered as the ‘father of Green Revolution’ and Rao as the “wheat man of India”. With hybrid varieties and synthetic fertilisers and insecticides, the production of rice per acre increased to 40 quintals from 10 quintals, a tremendous victory in fighting hunger. There were also some setbacks during the 1960s and 70s. India’s budget (read agriculture) is dependent on the monsoon season, as George Curzon pointed out in 1905.  Due to drought from 1964-70, India had to import food and became heavily dependent on the United States for wheat supplies under the Public Law 480 agreement. At one time, we were eagerly waiting for the arrival of a ship full of wheat at the Mumbai port. The late former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri gave a call to “miss a meal” on Monday nights as a part of the Jai Kisan movement.  Green Revolution Ultimately, the Green Revolution was initiated. The theme of the initiative was to boost food grains production of rice and wheat using any method and at any cost. Success followed many setbacks. Biologist-turned-science-writer Rachel Carson published a seminal book called Silent Spring, focused on the harmful effects of pesticides, primarily DDT on our health and environment.  DDT was found to be non-biodegradable and its remnants were traced everywhere — in our body, soil and water. Studies showed its effects on liver and kidneys, including causing cancers.  Scientists rapidly found alternatives and advocated Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is a need-based use of pesticides, alternating crops, intercropping as well as usage of bird perches where birds rest, detect insects on crops and eat them.  After DDT, other insecticides like monocrotophos, metasystox, cypermethrin came into use but these are equally harmful to humans, livestock and fish. The “turn to nature” to get pesticide-free food has become a priority. The order of the day is organic farming — natural farming or zero-budget agriculture — which is welcome and most wanted in the agriculture sphere. 

    Not without setbacks

    The first and foremost sound solution is the usage of organic manures from compost, cow dung and ploughing and mulching of leguminous plants. Several plant-based botanical pesticides were discovered. Neem oil, neem kernel extracts, which contain azadirachtin, is the active principle discovered by Germans, the United Kingdom and US.  Neem revived the hope of using harmless pesticides but its availability is very low. Several commercial formulations were available in India. Karanj oil (Karanjin active principle), several leaf extracts like Adathoda and garlic-buds aqueous extracts are found to be effective to some extent as active repellants but they cannot replace synthetic pesticide. There is a growing awareness in India to cultivate the crops by natural fertilisers such as cow dung, leguminous green manures, compost, vermicomposting and biopesticides fungi, bacteria and virus-based  pesticides like Bacillus thuringiensisPseuedomonas aegleTrichoderma verdi.  These bio-pesticides are chiefly produced from diseased insects and soil, among other things. However, it only has limited use on too few fruit and vegetable crops. The problem with the bio-pesticide production is that it is confined to a small industry with no standardisation and doubtful efficacy. Several symposia are held by non-governmental organisations, ideal farmers and governments. Many agricultural magazines hail the miracles of higher yields from organic farming. Particular mention should be made about jeevamrutham — a recently designed concoction called Ramabanam, which gained prominence. These concoctions are made from jaggery, ginger, cow milk, cow curd, cow dung, cow urine, asafoetida. All the ingredients are mixed and fermented for a week, diluted and sprayed on crops.  It is claimed that the product can be used as a fertiliser and a pesticide. The farmers who experimented were quick to endorse the products. Their studies on organic farming presented in symposia on organic farming, however, were confined to few vegetables like tomatoes over a limited area. The yield, the farmers said, is high but not quantified with randomised block design studies.   The active principle of such concoctions is unknown and doesn’t stand scientific security. Moreover, the cost of these concoctions is as high as pesticides and starting products like cow dung are not available in plenty as of today.  For about 90 per cent Indians, rice or wheat are almost exclusively the staple food. So, encouragement of organic farming in a country like India will be meaningful, if applied for rice / wheat. Studies on these crops should also be prioritised. The inconvenient truth, as many farmers put it, is that the land is infertile now without urea in the first few days of rice plantation, and with no application of synthetic pesticides, the entire crop is prone to pests resulting in no yield. The challenge for agriculture scientists is how to maintain the current volume of yield (40 quintals per acre) with organic farming. We need to take with caution some sporadic success stories of organic farming on vegetables and fruits grown in an acre or two. Thus, all the available tools we have with us, like bio-fertilisers, bio-pesticides, green manure and vermicompost, their limitation is discussed herein. Constraints of sustainable organic farming are: None of the organic farming tools are available, especially for organic farming of rice that is the staple food in India. Importantly, the whole organic farming depends on cow dung, which is dwindling even as we are particular about their protection (gosamrakshana).  The staple food for cattle is rice straw. While we claim rice production is high and in surplus, the cost of rice remains very high and is not affordable for the poor man. Thus, the increase of cattle population is linked to paddy by rice production. Both are interlinked. Quantification for pesticide residues in food should be done by High Performance Liquid Chromatography / Mass Spectra / Mass Spectra (HPLC / MS / MS) method. The sophisticated method has been adopted by advanced countries but is still not in use in India.  The real structure of crop production is dependent on high-yielding hybrid seeds. Continuous research on high yielding varieties by cross breeding with pest resistant wild varieties is essential.

    Compost from urban areas and vermicompost, in particular, don’t seem to have been examined for pesticide residues and harmful trace elements such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead is needed by using HPLC /MS / MS method and atomic absorption spectroscopy. 

    Introduction of transgenic varieties is not recommended for organic and natural farming. Therefore, it is wise to use the first three sprays on crops with natural organic materials and the last two sprays with synthetic pesticides. Research on organic farming should be done using robust scientific methods only. Surprisingly, rice was found to contain high pesticides and trace elements.  This technique should be standardised in India. Our slogan should be “natural and organic farming with high yields at an affordable price to the common man”. India’s wheat exports surpassed $872 million (2021-22) and rice exports in 2021-22 is likely to surpass the record $10 million, according to the agriculture department of the Government of India. 
  • Prices rise across major hubs on higher demand for rice

  • Prices of rice exported from top Asian hubs jumped this week on solid demand, while Vietnamese traders also flagged high shipping costs due to the Ukraine crisis. Thailand's 5% broken rice prices rose to $415-$428 per tonne, on average a peak since late June, from $400-$403 a week ago. As corn and wheat prices rise, animal feed makers were looking to use more broken rice, pushing up prices across the board, Bangkok-based traders said. Another trader said he recently received interest from buyers in Europe, the United States, Iraq and Iran for different grades of Thai white rice. Demand from Hong Kong has also increased, the trader said, with concerns over plans for a city-wide lockdown sparking panic buying by residents. Thailand exported 459,752 tonnes of rice worth $234 million in January, up 8.92% from the same period last year, the commerce ministry said. Rates for top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety rose to $371-$378 per tonne from last week's $370-$376, also a peak since mid-June. "Consumers are trying to build stockpile due to the rally in wheat and corn prices. Demand is improving for rice," said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Vietnam's 5% broken rice prices rose to their highest since December at $410-$415 per tonne on Thursday, versus $400 last week, amid higher demand, traders said, with the Ukraine-Russia conflict prompting buyers to place more orders from elsewhere in Asia. Another trader said shipping costs had surged since the Ukraine-Russia conflict began, with international freight costs rising 50% and domestic freight costs climbing 70%-80%. "We're concerned costs will keep rising if the conflict continues," the trader said. Traders said farmers in the Mekong Delta had harvested 20%-25% of the winter-spring crop. Domestic rice prices in Bangladesh remain high despite good crops and reserves, traders said, adding that the global market was seeing a hike due the Ukraine-Russia conflict. "It is very much unlikely that local prices will come down soon," a trader said.
  • India defers certificate requirement for rice export to European countries

  • Indian rice exports face threat from Asian peers, including Pakistan                              India on Tuesday deferred the requirement of obtaining a certificate of inspection from a government agency to ship both and non-rice to European countries to July 1, 2021. Earlier the date was January 1 next year. A notification dated August 10 is "amended to the extent that export of rice (and non-basmati) to EU member states and other European countries - Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland only will require Certificate of Inspection from EIA/EIC". Export to remaining European countries (except Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) will require Certificate of Inspection by Export Inspection Council (EIC)/Export Inspection Agency (EIA) for export "from July 1, 2021," the directorate said. India, the world's top rice exporter, exports about 3 lakh tonnes of basmati rice to the EU. The Export Inspection Council (EIC) is the official export certification body of India which ensures the quality and safety of products exported from India. The Export Inspection Agencies (EIAs) under the council are located at Mumbai, Kolkata, Kochi, Delhi, and Chennai.
  • REAP to file reasoned statement against India’s GI claim of Basmati

  • Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) is preparing to initiate second step against the India’s claim on Geographical Indicator (GI) of Basmati and will file a reasoned statement, within 60 days as required. REAP is fighting the battle against India’s claim on geographical indicator of Basmati in EU. After the announcement of application of India for GI in European Journal, the first step was to stop India from proceeding further in its registration of GI in European Commission by filing a notice of opposition. Accordingly, REAP filed Notice of Opposition in EU by challenging. According to REAP, this is the first step which effectively maintains the status quo, whereby making the applicant’s (India) approval of GI conditional on the decision of DG Agriculture European Commission. Current status of the case is that REAP has filed a Notice of Opposition on 07-12-2020 against India’s claim on GI of Basmati in the European Union and the European Union has also acknowledged the filings of the ‘Notice of Opposition’ by REAP. Sources said that REAP is at this second step and preparing a reasoned statement to file, within 60 days as required. At the third step, hearings and other proceedings will start after this period of 60 days elapses, which will be in February 2021. The final decision on the registration of GI of Basmati will be delivered after the hearings. As the case in EU progress, REAP will keep on updating on all the developments. Basmati, being a centuries-old heritage of Pakistan, could not be allowed to be monopolised by India in the European market. Such a gross misrepresentation by India on the origins of Basmati is an attack on the values of fair competition among farmers and exporters in EU. Pakistan has a legal right to export Basmati with its original name in accordance with the practice in EU which is decades old. REAP is confident that Pakistan has a strong case as the EU recognises Pakistan as an authentic Basmati growing region. The GI tag is an exclusive right to sell products in the registered market.
  • Two Indian firms bag Bangladesh tender to import 1 lakh tonne non-Basmati rice

  • Bangla Tribune reported that the Sheikh Hasina Wazed Government’s Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase had last week cleared the purchase through the global tender costing $20.21 million.

    Two Indian firms have bagged global tenders floated by Bangladesh to import one lakh tonnes of parboiled non-Basmati rice to overcome supply shortage and surge in rice prices.
    “Two Indian firms have won the Bangladesh rice import tenders. While one firm has bagged the first tender, agreeing to sell 50,000 tonnes rice at $405 a tonne, the other firm will offer another 50,000 tonnes at $416,” said Rice Exporters Association (REA) President B V Krishna Rao. Bangla Tribune reported that the Sheikh Hasina Wazed Government’s Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase had last week cleared the purchase through the global tender costing $20.21 million. India’s Rika Global Impex Limited will supply the rice at $404.35, whose per kg landed cost would be Rs 30, with 30,000 tonnes being delivered at Mongla port and the rest at Chittagong. Bangladesh floated two separate tenders on November 16 and 25 to import 50,000 tonnes each of parboiled rice on cost, insurance, freight terms besides unloading costs. The rice has to be delivered in 40 days from the day of signing the contract. Bangladesh plans to import at least three lakh tonnes of rice and India is seen as having an edge to bag the entire deal. “There has been intense competition within India to win the Bangladesh tender. That’s why it has got at these rates. Otherwise, our exports could have easily fetched $450 a tonne,” Rao said. Bangladesh rice tender and Chinese import of Indian rice have pushed up export prices. “Par-boiled rice prices are now around $400 a tonne. White rice prices have increased to $375-385 a tonne. We are still 50-60 per cent cheaper than origins such as Thailand and Vietnam,” the REA president said. In the global market, these purchases have pushed rice prices to a three-month high.
    For the first time in three decades, China has begun buying Indian rice. So far, one lakh tonnes have been shipped out of the country. “Some cargoes are yet to reach the Chinese ports,” Rao said when asked if further orders were on cards. However, the Chinese have settled to buy 100 percent broken white rice, which is priced lower. Most of the export deals to China have been done at $300-320 a tonne. At least three exporter-traders said that the 100 percent broken rice could be used for making porridge or starch or animal feed. “Chinese COSCO Group, which is like our Food Corporation of India (FCI), has not made its intentions clear on further purchases from India,” a trader-exporter said. A trade expert based in Malaysia said that India was always competitive in the 100 percent broken category, pointing to India making up 60-70 percent of such imports by Senegal. “It imports at least 10 lakh tonnes every year,” the expert, who did not wish to be identified, said. All India Rice Exporters Association former president Vijay Setia said that India had become very competitive in the global rice market as it had a surplus. “Drought in Vietnam and Thailand had affected production in both countries. It has benefitted India,” he said. India’s non-basmati exports have also been aided by huge stocks and projections of a record Kharif paddy production. In April, when demand for rice exports increased, the FCI had 32.24 million tonnes in its warehouses besides unmilled paddy of 25.24 million tonnes, which could yield 16.91 million tonnes of rice. By October 1, FCI rice stocks had dropped to 22.19 million tonnes, while it had 10.94 million tonnes of paddy stocks that could yield 7.3 million tonnes of rice. Additionally, the FCI has procured 39.08 million tonnes of paddy from farmers across the country, which when milled can yield 26.16 million tonnes of rice. According to the first advance estimate of foodgrain production for 2020-21 released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Kharif rice production has been estimated at 102.36 million tonnes against 101.98 million tonnes last year. Agricultural and Processed Food Exports Development Authority data showed that non-basmati rice exports more than doubled during April-September this year to 50.79 lakh tonnes against 24.96 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period. Earlier this month, the Commerce Ministry said that rice exports had increased by about 25 per cent during the April-November period of the current fiscal. Rice exporters say that non-Basmati exports have already topped last fiscal’s total exports and India, the largest rice exporter in the world, could widen the gap this year with the second-largest exporter Thailand. The US Department of Agriculture's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) report said the pace of Indian rice exports has remained robust since August this year and India could export 13.50 million tonnes in the season ending June next year. The WASDE exports estimates are one million tonnes higher than the one made last month.  
  • Despite payment delays in Iran, India’s basmati exports up 33%

  • In Iran, the biggest buyer of Indian basmati, payments were held up as the country’s central bank delayed allocation of the currency to traders to buy rice and other commodities.

      India's basmati rice exports continue to grow, especially to Iran, despite shippers facing payment problems from the largest buyer of the fragrant grain. “Basmati exports are doing very well. They are 30 percent higher this year compared with last year,” former president of Delhi-based All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) Vijay Setia said.
    According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), an arm of the commerce ministry, basmati exports in the first half of the current fiscal were up 33 percent at 27.44 lakh tonnes compared with 20.57 lakh tonnes during the year-ago period. Though the per-unit value realisation was low at $885 a tonne against $1,061 last year, the shipments have increased 17 percent in rupee value. In dollar terms, basmati shipments earned $2.4 billion in the first half of the fiscal. The rise in shipments comes on the heels of Pakistan making a bid to make inroads in the Iranian market after India and other countries complained of payment delays. “People are getting the payments for basmati exports from Iran but they are delayed. Shippers raised a hue and cry when they were delayed. The concern over late payments remains,” said Setia, also the executive director of Chaman Lal Setia Exports that sells basmati under Maharani brand. According to a multinational company’s export official, basmati exporters were taking a risk by selling to Iran but they had changed their strategy. “Exporters are stocking up the rice and selling there. They have set up distribution points. This is helping them continue exports,” the official said. It also indicates that Pakistan's attempts were not paying off. Though India, which accounts for 70 percent of the world’s basmati production, exports to more than 200 countries, Iran alone accounts for 34 percent of the shipment. In 2019-20, Iran was the biggest importer of basmati, buying 13.19 lakh tonnes valued at $1.23 billion compared with 14.83 lakh tonnes worth $1.55 billion the previous year. In 2019-20, 44.54 lakh tonnes of basmati was imported against 44.14 lakh tonnes the previous year. The earnings were, however, lower at $4.33 billion versus $4.72 billion.
    In October this year, veteran Pakistani journalist Muhammad Ziauddin tweeted that Iran was in the process of shifting its basmati rice import from India to Pakistan. The 33 percent rise in basmati export comes after AIREA reported a drop in shipments during the April-July period. The drop was reported at a time when prices were on the downswing due to projections of higher production this year. Basmati production was estimated to increase 10 percent this year to 6.13 million tonnes, mainly on a five percent increase in the area under cultivation. In Iran, payments were being held up as the country’s central bank delayed allocation of the currency to Iranian traders to buy basmati and other commodities. This initially prevented Indian exporters from entering into new contracts. AIREA said in June that 2.5 lakh tonnes of basmati valued at Rs 1,700 crore had got stuck at Iranian ports. Payments from previous shipments were also pending, it said. This seems to be in the past now. The problem was on account of the slide in the value of the Iranian rial against the US dollar. It dropped to one of its lowest in June, hit by the US sanctions that have derailed crude exports. The country’s revenue from oil has plunged to $8 billion from $100 billion in 2011. The rial is now trading at 250,000 to the dollar, recovering from 300,000 in early October. With Joe Biden taking over as the president in January, Iran is hoping that the situation will improve, though it remains firm on its missile program, which had invited sanctions.
  • Rice exporters challenge Indian GI claims on basmati in EU

  •       KARACHI: Rice exporters have filed a detailed response to the European Union (EU) in a Notice of Opposition against India’s claim on geographical indicator (GI) of long-grain aromatic Basmati rice in the EU.
    India, last month, had asked the EU to recognize the fragrant, long-grain staple as originating in seven Indian states and territories, which would give its producers exclusive rights to the basmati label in the lucrative European market. Pakistan rejects India’s claim, arguing that its farmers also grow basmati rice. “Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has filed a Notice of Opposition on (December 7) against India’s claim on GI of Basmati in the EU,” the association said on Tuesday in a statement.  

    “REAP has taken this step on behalf of rice exporters and farmers of Pakistan who are at the risk of losing a billion-dollars’ worth of income.”


    Since 2006, the EU has applied zero tariffs on rice imported into the bloc that has been authenticated by either Pakistani or Indian authorities as genuine basmati. Pakistan has a thriving industry of export of Basmati, making the country one of the top five exporters of rice in the world. REAP said it has previously been involved in developing and revising UK Code of Practice and arranging trade delegations abroad to foster the export of Basmati from Pakistan.

    “India had sought protection of its Basmati as a GI product in EU in a mala fide attempt to deter Pakistan’s growing export and appreciation of Basmati.”

    Pakistan’s export of Basmati to EU has almost doubled in the last five years and it has outpaced India’s exports of the same. The importers and customers in EU appreciate Pakistan’s Basmati more than that of India due to its exotic aroma, sweeter taste and soft texture and above all in terms of food safety including Pesticides which has resulted in increased demand. Basmati, being a centuries old heritage of Pakistan, could not be allowed to be monopolised by India in the European market.

    “Such a gross misrepresentation by India on the origins of Basmati is an attack on the values of fair competition among farmers and exporters in EU,” the statement said.

    Pakistan has a legal right to export Basmati with its original name in accordance with the practice in EU which is decades old. European importers have also raised their objections against the Indian stance, and in support of Pakistan. The statement said REAP is striving for an early legislation on the GI rules in Pakistan along with the Ministry of Commerce.

    “It will enable Pakistan’s exporters and farmers of Basmati to prevent their product from being used by the same name in international markets.”

    REAP said n internally registered GI of Basmati will strengthen Pakistan’s case in the coming legal stages in the EU. REAP remains optimist that Pakistan has strong case as EU recognises the country as authentic basmati growing region. “The protection of Basmati as Pakistan’s indigenous product is crucial to sustain the rice exports, Consequently, REAP is leading the way in this endeavor without any regards to costs.”
  • The ‘qissa’ of Basmati

  • The Qissa of Basmati. Photo: @amaanbali / Twitter   Basmati rice. It is the rice fit for kings. But today, these grains of rice are at the center of a fresh fight between bitter rivals India and Pakistan. The reason? India applied for an exclusive Geographical Indications tag to Indian-origin basmati rice with the EU’s Council on Quality Schemes for Agricultural and Foodstuffs. The application was published in an official EU journal on September 11, 2020, after clearing internal evaluations. In India, basmati cultivation is dictated by geography. There is a ‘Basmati growing region’, one which includes the states and Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The cold weather of this region is suitable for Basmati cultivation. So, what does Pakistan have to do with all this? Well, apparently, Pakistan too has a Basmati belt, the Kalar bowl, a tract of land in the interfluve between the Ravi and the Chenab rivers, comprising the Narowal, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Hafizabad and Sheikhupura districts in Punjab province. Turns out that India has a 65 percent share in the global Basmati market while Pakistan has the rest. In fact, Pakistan’s exports to the EU have almost doubled over three years since permissible levels of pesticides on imported agricultural products to the bloc were reduced in 2018, while India has repeatedly failed the tests. Basmati is an export-oriented item for both India and Pakistan In 2019-20, India produced 7.5 million tonnes of basmati, of which 61 percent was exported, earning the country Rs 31,025 crore according to the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the country exported 0.89 million tonnes of basmati in 2019-20. If India gets the GI tag, Pakistan would be effectively kept out of the European market for basmati rice even though it is a major producer.   History of Basmati

    Basmati is most likely of medieval origin. The history and folklore of basmati rice is an academic paper published last year in the Journal of Cereal Research. It was written by Subhash Chander, Uma and Siddharth Ahuja.

    Subhash Chander Ahuja is a retired plant pathologist from the Rice Research Station, Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University in Kaul, Haryana. Uma Ahuja is a retired professor of Genetics and Plant Breeding, College of Agriculture, Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University in Kaul, Haryana. Siddharth Ahuja is from the Department of Pharmocology, Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College, Nalhar, Mewat, Haryana. In section 3.1 titled Historical growing areas, their paper reads:
    The Ain-i-Akbari records cultivation of Mushkeen in the subahs of Lahore, Multan, Allahabad, Oudh, Delhi, Agra, Ajmer and the Raisen area of Malwa Subah
    Mushkeen, also called Lal Basmati, is the red-husked variant of Basmati. Though not as popular as the light, golden-husked variant today, the paper says, it was popular in the kitchens of the Mughal Emperors. Significantly though, the paper reminds us that Basmati did grow in the Lahore and Multan provinces of the Mughal Empire, which are today in present-day Pakistan.
    Pakistan’s claim over Basmati is strengthened by the fact that the first mention of the word ‘Basmati’ is in the popular tragic romance, Heer-Ranjha, written in 1766 or 1767 by the Punjabi Sufi, Waris Shah. The academic paper Range and Limit of Geographical Indication Scheme: The case of Basmati Rice from Punjab Pakistan is by French professor Georges Giraud. It was published in 2008 in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, Volume 11, Issue 1. It mentions that the romance was translated into English in 1910 by Charles Frederick Usborne, a British Indian Civil Servant and a scholar of Punjabi. The second paragraph of Chapter 16 of Usborne’s The Adventures of Heer and Ranjha describes several foods displayed for a wedding. It says and I quote:
    …All kinds of varieties of rice, even Mushki and Basmutti and Musagir and Begami and Sonputti
    It is worth noting that Heer-Ranjha is set in the town of Jhang on the east bank of the Chenab in Pakistan’s Punjab. Ironically, this paragraph was cited by the Indian government while contesting Texas-based firm, RiceTec’s attempt in the late 1990s to appropriate Basmati rice. Even more ironically, India at the time was actively supported by the Pakistani government. Both eventually succeeded in thwarting RiceTec’s scheme. But even as the subcontinental twins squabble over Basmati, Indian farmers are increasingly finding it hard to grow it.

    The reasons are many. In just seven years, the price of Basmati has halved. Why? Because, India’s exports have been hit due to the pesticides controversy as well as US sanctions on Iran, a major importer.

    Exporters have not paid to rice mill owners, who in turn have reduced purchase of basmati from local cultivators.  This, then, is the current status of our Basmati farmers. Dayanand, a farmer of Basmati from Ghummanhera village on the outskirts of Delhi, told Down To Earth that getting a GI tag from the European Union would not improve his or his peers’ lot. Returning to the question of the GI tag, India and Pakistan have a bitter relationship. But the Republic of India was founded on the principle of fairness. Morality, fairness and ethics dictate that India is on a sticky wicket as far as claiming Basmati as entirely its own is concerned. Our move may destroy Pakistan’s basmati farmers. But will it improve the lot of our farmers?  But in these times of hyper-nationalism, populism and nativism, all such talk is anathema, sacrilege, and blasphemy. And lest anybody’s sentiments are hurt after seeing this, I tender my apology. As things stand, my task is to inform. Until the final decision comes out on December 10, on who actually owns it, just sit back…and enjoy your basmati…Bon Appetit.
  • India holds more than 85% share of Global ‘Basmati Rice’ exports


    Recently, the European Commission published India’s GI application for ‘Basmati’ rice in the European Union. Pakistan, the only other country that exports Basmati has announced that it will challenge India’s application. As per available data, India holds more than 85% share of the global ‘Basmati’ exports. 

    The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international legal agreement among the members of WTO which covers the areas of intellectual property rights such as copyright and related rights, trademarks, geographical indications (GI), patents, and more. The agreement defines geographical indications as ‘an indication which identifies a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a regional locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.’ 

    GI is territorial

    In simpler terms, GI can be understood as a tag on products which have a specific geographical origin and possess certain qualities and reputation because of that origin. Some examples of popular geographical indications are Roquefort cheese from France, Swiss Watches, and Washington State Apples. (A detailed story on what GIs are and its significance was previously written by Factly). GIs are territorial, implying that GI should be applied for, in different countries or regions as there is not any international right or registry. 

    India’s application for GI over Basmati has been published by EU

    Recently, the European Commission published India’s Protected Geographical Indication application  in the European Union for ‘Basmati’, the rice which is popularly used for making Biriyanis and Pulao. Basmati has been described as, ‘a special long grain aromatic rice grown and produced in a particular geographical region of the Indian sub-continent. In India, this region is a part of northern India, below the foothills of the Himalayas forming part of the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP)’, in the application. Geographic area where the rice grain is produced has been mentioned as all districts in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, as well as in specific districts of western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. 

    Pakistan is opposing India’s claim

    Pakistan, which is the only other country in the world to produce Basmati rice besides India, has opposed India’s claim and has planned to challenge the application. Getting the GI tag can help India boost its export of Basmati rice, which may hit Pakistan’s exports of the same. According to the EU’s regulations, countries can file opposition to GI claims within a period of 3 months from the publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. It has to be noted that the Pakistan Government enacted the GI (Registration and Protection) Act only in March 2020. In India, GI Act has been in force since 1999. 

    India holds more than 85% share of global Basmati Rice exports

    India already accounts for a lion’s share of Basmati rice exports. More than 85% of the global Basmati exports (by quantity and by value) are from India. In India, the quantity of Basmati exported is about 37% of the total rice exports by quantity and 60% by value in 2018-19. During the same period, in Pakistan, Basmati exports comprised of 13% of rice exports by quantity and almost 29% by value. 

    India’s export of Basmati has gone up by 19% while Pakistan’s dropped by 26% in 5 years

    In the five years between 2014-15 and 2018-19, according to parliament responses, India’s Basmati exports have increased. From about 36.99 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) in 2014-15, the export of Basmati has increased to 44.15 LMT in 2018-19, an increase of over 19%. In 2019-20, India has exported 44.55 LMT of Basmati worth USD 4.25 Billion. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s export of Basmati has dropped from 6.77 LMT in 2014-15 to 5.37 LMT in 2018-19, a decrease of around 26%. Nonetheless, the quantity of export of Basmati in both the countries has  been witnessing an increasing trend since 2016-17.  

    In terms of value, India’s Basmati export dropped by 29% from USD 4.5 Billion in 2014-15 to USD 3.2 Billion in 2016-17. However, the exports have gradually increased to USD 4.7 Billion in 2018-19, which is a 47% increase compared to the value in 2016-17. In the five years between 2014-15 & 2018-19, India’s Basmati exports has grown by 4% in terms of value.  Concomitantly, Pakistan, which has also witnessed a similar trend has recorded an overall drop in Basmati export by nearly 15% in terms of value.

    Export to EU has gone down 

    Major importers of Basmati from India are the Middle Eastern countries. In 2018-19, around 76% of the Basmati exports from India were to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Yemen, and UAE. According to the data released by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), between 2017-18 and 2019-20, the quantity of Basmati exported by India to countries like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, USA, Canada, Australia, Israel, Nepal, Russia, Ireland, and Japan has been increasing in terms of quantity. Meanwhile, the export to countries like UAE, Qatar, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Croatia, France, Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland has decreased consistently. The exports to most of the countries in European Union (EU) have reduced. The European Union issued new standards in the pesticides residue content in Basmati in 2017 to deem it fit for import. The new norms have resulted in the drop in exports of Basmati to the European Union. Presence of chemicals in Basmati being imported from India and Pakistan was discussed in the EU earlier this year. 

    GI tag helps maintain quality 

    Getting the GI tag enables those holding the right to prevent a third-party from using the tag if their product does not match up to the pertinent standards. This does not mean that the holder of the tag can stop anyone else who is producing using the same techniques as per the set standards. For instance, those producing & selling tea in the jurisdictions where the Darjeeling GI is protected, have to  adhere to the standards set in the GI code of practice. Else, they will not be allowed to use the Darjeeling tag. Darjeeling is the GI tag associated with tea that has been registered by EU. Another application filed by India was for the Kangra Tea in 2008. 

    Claim to Basmati in dispute even among states

    Basmati is a registered GI in India. However, as per the registry, the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir are the producers of Basmati. Madhya Pradesh also claimed to market rice under Basmati tag and hence APEDA was asked by the GI registry to include Madhya Pradesh among those states that grow Basmati, in December 2013. Later, APEDA challenged this before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) in 2014. The Madhya Pradesh government later challenged the same before the Madras High Court and the HC dismissed the claim. The matter reportedly has been taken up at the apex court. 

  • We were in the dark about Jordan’s new residue norms, claims rice exporters body

  • 270-tonne consignment rejected for high pesticide residue


    The All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) on Thursday said it has taken up the issue of Jordan rejecting rice containers of an Indian exporter early this week with Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) and Jordan Chamber of Commerce. Jordan’s Agriculture Ministry has denied permission for offloading 12 containers carrying 270 tonnes of basmati rice from a North Indian exporter at its Aqaba port as Jordanian government laboratories found the pesticide residue in rice samples examined were higher than the maximum residue level (MRL). “The samples were found to have residue level (of fungicide tricyclazole) higher than it is now permitted. However, what is strange was that Jordan did not notify its decision to revise MRL and as a result, this information was not publicly available,” said AIREA Executive Director Rajen Sundaresan. EU norms “All of a sudden, Jordan has decided to adopt the European Union (EU) norms for tricyclazole residue, which stands at 0.01 parts per million (ppm). We had little knowledge about this,” he said, adding that the association has already written to Apeda and Jordan Chamber of Commerce. From January 1 this year, the EU decided to not allow the import of basmati rice whose tricyclazole levels exceed more than 0.01 ppm to its member countries, affecting most basmati exporters from India. Prior to the implementation of new norms, the MRL in Indian basmati was 1 ppm. The tolerance levels for tricyclazole in the US and Japan, interestingly, are much higher, at 3 ppm and 10 ppm respectively. Indian rice exporters have been lobbying with the Central government for getting the new norms relaxed by the EU for two years. Options left Sundaresan, who refused to name the exporter whose consignment has been blocked, said the options available to them include bringing the consignment back to India, or destroying it or re-routing the shipment to the countries where such MRL is permitted.

    “The tricyclazole levels permitted in India is 3 ppm. When the consignment left India it was within the permissible limits. But Jordan has suddenly decided to follow the EU regime. We have written to them to find out since when it has come into effect,” the AIREA official said.

  • India’s largest selling rice brand is now a zero-tax product


    India Gate rice is exempt from paying the 5% GST rate on branded rice because KRBL Ltd did not get the brand name registered under Trade Marks Act 1999

    India Gate rivals Daawat and Kohinoor have been critical of the country’s largest rice brand not paying the 5% GST rate applicable on branded rice.
    India Gate rivals Daawat and Kohinoor have been critical of the country’s largest rice brand not paying the 5% GST rate applicable on branded rice.

    New Delhi: India Gate, the country’s largest selling rice brand, is exempt from paying goods and services tax (GST) because the company did not get the brand name registered under the Trade Marks Act 1999.

    “This is to further clarify, declare and certify that ‘India Gate, Indian Farm, Lotus and Unity’ brands are owned by KRBL Ltd but since they are not registered in Class 30 under ‘Trade Marks Act, 1999’ hence ‘NIL’ GST rate is applicable on it,” KRBL Ltd, which sells India Gate packaged rice, said in an internal communication dated 3 July. Branded rice was either exempt from tax or carried a 5% value-added tax, depending on the state where it was sold, before GST was implemented. Following the implementation of the indirect tax on 1 July, such products have become dearer in many states. KRBL’s largest competitors, including the Indian unit of McCormick and Co., which sells Kohinoor packaged rice in India, have to pay GST, making their products more expensive. KRBL’s rivals have been critical of the country’s largest rice brand not paying the 5% GST that is applicable on branded staples. They have also raised doubts about whether the definition of “registered brand name” has been interpreted correctly by the company to claim the GST exempt status. A KRBL spokesman said the company is following government norms. A spokesperson for McCormick in India declined comment. LT Foods Ltd, seller of the Daawat brand of rice, also declined comment. The finance ministry on 5 July clarified that “registered brand name” is a brand name or a trade name “which is registered under the Trade Marks Act, 1999” and should be on “the Register of Trade Marks and remain in force”. That KRBL does not have the brand registered wasn’t for lack of trying. The company has applied for trademark registration of the India Gate brand of rice and other staples multiple times since 1999 before the Controller General of Patents Design and Trade Marks, according to the Intellectual Property India website. Its applications were either objected to, opposed or refused. Vikram Roller Flour Mills Ltd was the last to hold the trade mark registration of India Gate brand. The registration was valid till November 2013, according to the website. It couldn’t be immediately ascertained whether it still owns the brand. Calls to the company’s landline weren’t answered. Vikram Roller still sells wheat flour under the India Gate brand. According to a 2 July statement by the finance ministry, GST on staples such as rice, wheat and cereals is zero. Abhishek Rastogi, a partner at law firm Khaitan & Co., said it is possible for a company to sell the product under a brand name and still claim zero GST. “If the name is not registered under the Trade Marks Act 1999 and not listed with the Trade Marks Registry, the brand will not attract 5% GST,” Rastogi said. That seems to be KRBL’s understanding as well. Interestingly, on 30 June, KRBL filed an application with the registrar of Trade Marks seeking cancellation of the name KRBL Ltd from the Trade Marks Registry. In its application, it said that the company was “not using the trademark KRBL Limited in relation to rice”. The company registered the trademark of KRBL Ltd on 24 July 2000 and this is valid till 24 July 2020. Shares of KRBL have gained 3.81% on the BSE since the GST was implemented on 1 July. The exchange’s benchmark Sensex rose 1.45% in the same period. KRBL claims that its flagship India Gate brand dominates the branded rice market in India with a 29.5% share in terms of value, according to a company presentation to investors in December 2016. The company reported net profit of Rs399 crore on revenue of Rs3,159 crore in the year ended 31 March. About 48% of the company’s revenue comes from India and the rest from exports. West Asian countries account for about 44% of KRBL’s revenue.
  • Price cap on Indian rice supports Pakistan’s rice exports to Iran

  • At times when Pakistani exporters of textile made-ups are unhappy over the crisis being faced by them in international markets, rice exporters seem happy to avail the opportunity of improving exports to Iran, following restrictions by Iran on rice imports from India. As both India and Pakistan produce the same high quality of rice known as Basmati, the two countries usually compete for major rice consuming countries, especially Iran which is considered a major destination for the long-grained aromatic rice. According to sources, Indian exporters of Basmati rice are facing serious problems in Iran after Tehran put upper limits for import and consumer prices of the cereal. While India’s recent exports of the rice to the West Asian country cost the importer around $950 per tonne (landed price), the ceiling price imposed is $850 a tonne and the maximum consumer price set is $ 1.15 a kg. With the ceiling prices, it would not be economically viable for India to export rice to Iran. Iran consumes more than 3 million tonnes of rice annually and a third of this demand is met by imports. Indian exporters have feared that the crisis in Iranian market would indirectly benefit Pakistan because of its proximity to Iran, as transportation cost was higher for India’s exporters. Not only the ceiling issue but also the uncertainty overuse of currency for trade between Delhi and Tehran has impacted India’s basmati rice exports to Iran following hesitation over the use of the dollar after fresh sanctions levied by the United States on the republic. Indian Basmati exports to Iran had witnessed sharp jump as Delhi launched a rupee settlement mechanism from April 2012 with Iran to avoid sanctions from the US and EU. This situation, as exporters in Pakistan believe, has opened room for exporters here to meet the demand of the neighbouring country. The export of rice mainly Basmati to Iran is being witnessed during the past few months creating over 50 per cent jump in the domestic price of the commodity. “We are largely happy to see the boost in export after a long time crisis faced by the sector,” said an exporter from Punjab. “Not only the crisis in Iranian market but the hike in the domestic price of rice in India following low production has also caused a reduction in export to Middles Eastern countries creating an increased demand for Pakistani rice in the traditional markets,”  he added. According to the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the exports of basmati rice from the country during the month of March 2017, increased by 154.28 per cent compared to the exports of the corresponding month of last year. During the month of March, about 45,745 metric tonnes of basmati rice worth US$ 43.976 million were exported as compared to the exports of 17,412 metric tonnes valuing of US$ 17.294 million of the same month last year. It may be recalled that food group exports from the country during the month of March decreased by 10.20 per cent and it was stood at US$ 346.12 million as against the exports of US$385.313 million of the same month last year. In last 3 quarters (July-March) of current financial year food group exports decreased by 11.58 per cent and recorded at US$ 2.885 billion as against the exports of US$ 3.037 billion of the corresponding period last year.
  • Basmati export benefits from ban on DA, exporters seek similar move for non-basmati

  • CHANDIGARH: Basmati, premium rice, has brought back flavour in the export for the domestic companies who are hailing timely payments from overseas buyers after the Indian government banned documents against acceptance (DA) for the commodity in the current marketing season. The exporters are mulling to seek similar DA restriction for export of non-basmati from India in the ensuing marketing season. The practise of DA had tilted the basmati trade in favour of overseas buyers due to rise in defaults, delayed payments and price manipulations that adversely affected domestic companies. The DA allowed export of consignment without settlement of payments. Even though DA has been banned in the last year for export of basmati but the practise is still prevalent in case of export of non basmati from India. "The curb on DA in export of basmati has decreased defaults in the trade and also given control over prices to the domestic exporters," executive director, All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) Rajen Sudershan told ET. Sudershan said that the rice exporters lobby is contemplating to seek ban on DA in case of non-basmati from the Indian government. "The move will boost export and also benefit different stakeholders in the rice trade," he said. The rice exporters maintain that the ban on DA had brought benefits to domestic companies as well as farmers who received timely and higher remuneration this time compared to the previous marketing season. "The policy amendment on DA by government has given confidence to exporters who were exploited by buyers once consignments have been delivered," Vijay Sethia past president of AIREA said. Sethia said that the practise of DA allowed buyers to manipulate all companies who were forced to compromise on margins. This year the ban on DA has promoted transaction through Cash against documents and Letter of Credit. "It has lead to better rice realization to exporters and higher remunerations to farmers," Sethia said. The export of basmati this season stood around 3.99 million tonnes till March 2017 compared to 4.4-million tonnes in 2015-16. The Indian basmati export has been affected due to less basmati trade to Iran after the gulf nation introduced price regulation of $850 per tonne on basmati import.
  • Wheat, rice basmati soften on sluggish demand

  • Basmati rice (Lal Quila) Rs 10,700, Shri Lal Mahal Rs 11,300, Super Basmati Rice Rs 9,800, Basmati common new Rs 7,100-7,200, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 5,800-6,400, Permal raw Rs 2,250-2,275, Permal wand Rs 2,300-2,350, Sela Rs 2,700-2,800 and Rice IR-8 Rs 1,875-2,000, Bajra Rs 1,360-1,370, Jowar yellow Rs 1,600-1,650, white Rs 3,300-3,500, Maize Rs 1,425-1,435, Barley Rs 1,575-1,595

    New Delhi, May 25 Prices of wheat and rice basmati fell by up to Rs 100 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today owing to muted demand against sufficient stocks position. Traders said besides low demand demand from flour mills, ample stocks position on increased arrivals from producing belts, mainly weighed on wheat prices. Tepid demand from retailers kept pressure on rice basmati prices, they said. In the national capital, wheat dara (for mills) declined by Rs 5 to Rs 1,730-1,735 per quintal. Atta chakki delivery followed suit and traded lower by a similar margin to Rs 1,735-1,740 per 90 kg. Rice basmati Pusa-1121 variety also fell by Rs 100 to Rs 5,800-6,400 per quintal. Following are today's quotations (in Rs per quintal): Wheat MP (desi) Rs 2,100-2,345, Wheat dara (for mills) Rs 1,730-1,735, Chakki atta (delivery) Rs 1,735-1,740, Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) Rs 240, Shakti Bhog (10 kg) Rs 240, Roller flour mill Rs 950-960 (50 kg), Maida Rs 960-970 (50 kg) and Sooji Rs 1,030-1,040 (50 kg). Basmati rice (Lal Quila) Rs 10,700, Shri Lal Mahal Rs 11,300, Super Basmati Rice Rs 9,800, Basmati common new Rs 7,100-7,200, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 5,800-6,400, Permal raw Rs 2,250-2,275, Permal wand Rs 2,300-2,350, Sela Rs 2,700-2,800 and Rice IR-8 Rs 1,875-2,000, Bajra Rs 1,360-1,370, Jowar yellow Rs 1,600-1,650, white Rs 3,300-3,500, Maize Rs 1,425-1,435, Barley Rs 1,575-1,595.
  • Exports of Basmati Brown (cargo) Rice to E.U

    Asia Rice-Thai, Vietnam prices hit multi-month high; India stays sluggish

  • * Thai upward price trend continues on ongoing demand, export prospects * Vietnamese traders store rice, anticipate more gains * India's high prices slow down trade, turn away main buyers By Patpicha Tanakasempipat and My Pham BANGKOK/HANOI, May 18 Rice prices hit multi-month peak in Thailand and Vietnam this week on export prospects, while high rates in India kept buyers at bay, traders said on Thursday. Thai benchmark 5-percent broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 rose this week to $385-$411 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, from $387-$392 last week. At a mean of $398 per tonne, Thai rice prices hit their highest in nine months, Reuters data showed.
    Traders said as Thai exporters are still buying stocks to fill shipments, heightened expectations of more demand from some of the world's top importers also helped prices to surge. Last week, Bangladesh's state grains buyer said they will import 600,000 tonnes of rice. It has already issued two tenders for a total of 100,000 tonnes of rice. "Exporters continue to sell, ships are still being loaded, and big buyers are now coming in," said a Bangkok-based trader. "If buyers keep purchasing, prices will keep increasing," said another trader from Bangkok. Vietnam's 5-percent broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 was quoted at $365-370 a tonne, FOB Saigon, up from $355-$360 last week, following the trend in Thailand. Averaging $367.50 per tonne, Vietnamese rice prices are at an 11-month high, according to Reuters data. Anticipating more demand from leading importing countries, Vietnam traders are storing rice in order to sell later as prices advance. "People expect demand to jump further so they are not rushing to sell now," said a Ho Chi Minh-based trader. Vietnam shipped an estimated 1.84 million tonnes of the grain between January and April, down 8.8 percent from the same period last year. Thailand and Vietnam are the world's second- and third-biggest rice exporters. In India, the world's biggest rice exporter, 5-percent broken parboiled rice prices RI-INBKN5-P1 eased by $3 per tonne to $391-$396 a tonne this week on sluggish export demand. In the past two months, there has been a sharp rise in Indian rates on government buying and as appreciation in the rupee caused a rally in local paddy prices. The rupee has risen more than 5 percent so far this year and is trading near its highest level in 21 months. A strong rupee trims returns of exporters, who cannot afford to cut prices. "African buyers are shifting to Vietnam. Indian rice is not competitive at the current price level," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. India mainly exports non-basmati rice to African countries and premier basmati rice to the Middle East. The Indian government buys rice from local farmers at a fixed price to supply subsidised food and meet any emergency needs such as a sudden spike in prices. The government has bought 36 million tonnes rice from farmers so far in 2016/17, up 24 percent from a year ago. (Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat in BANGKOK and My Pham in HANOI; Additional reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in MUMBAI; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
  • Monsoon in India: Rains set to hit Kerala coast on May 30, says IMD

  • Thanks to normal rainfall last year, the country’s foodgrain production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June) is estimated to reach an all-time record of 273.38 million tonne, which is 8.7% more than the previous year.

    By: | New Delhi | Published: May 17, 2017 4:35 AM
    Monsoon usually arrives over Kerala in the first week of June, then covers rest of the country during next one month or so.
    India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday stated that the southwest monsoon (June-September) is likely to hit Kerala coast on May 30 with a model error of ± 4 days. Monsoon usually arrives over Kerala in the first week of June, then covers rest of the country during next one month or so. “The statistical model forecast suggests that the monsoon onset over Kerala in this year is likely to be close to the normal date,” IMD said in a statement. The met department also stated ‘conditions are now becoming favourable for the further advance of southwest monsoon into parts of Bay of Bengal and remaining parts of Andaman Sea, Andaman & Nicobar Islands during the next 48 hours. IMD director general K J Ramesh last week had told FE that the met department stands by first monsoon forecast released last month where it had predicted that ‘normal’ rainfall this year at 96% of the benchmark Long Period Average (LPA), with a model error of ± 5%. IMD will release the second forecast for the season in the first week of June. Ramesh had stated that ‘there is a relatively moderate possibility of El Nino conditions, which adversely impacts progress of monsoon rains, developing during second half of the monsoon months (June-September) and neutral conditions of Indian Ocean Dipole would likely to result in ‘good distribution of rainfall across the country’. Subsequently the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, stating that prospects of a strong El Nino developing in the Equatorial Pacific have receded. Meanwhile, in its advisory for the farmers,the met department has urged undertaking of nursery preparation for viruppu rice in Kerala utilising pre-monsoon showers while in case of rain deficient areas, it urged farmers to commence planting of pepper and prepare the field for rice crop. For Karnataka farmers, IMD’s agro-advisory bulletin called for sowing of pulses like cowpea, green gram, black gram, horse gram, field bean, chilli etc. and green manure crops. For North-eastern states farmers, IMD advisory has urged farmers to continue nursery for raising main kharif rice. Last year, the IMD had made an initial forecast of ‘above normal’ rainfall of 106% of LPA, but the actual cumulative rainfall was 97 of the LPA, which falls in ‘normal’ category. Also Watch: Because of normal rainfall last year, the country’s foodgrains production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June) is estimated to reach an all-time record of 273.38 million tonne (MT), which is 8.7% more than the previous year. Due to two consecutive years of deficient monsoons (2014 & 2015), the foodgrains production went down to 252 MT in 2014-15 and 2015-16 crop years from 265 MT reported in 2013-14.
  • Returns on rice: The making of India’s biggest basmati exporter

  • Anil Mittal's family business KRBL is reaping the benefits of its decision to penetrate the domestic market with new brands and varieties of basmati, while maintaining a strong export business

    mg_96111_krbl_280x210.jpgAnil K Mittal, chairman and MD, KRBL, says business was ingrained in him at a young age
    Image: Amit Verma What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, William Shakespeare had insisted. However, Anil K Mittal, chairman and managing director of India’s top rice exporter KRBL—makers of the popular India Gate basmati rice among other brands—politely disagrees, at least as far as his company’s name is concerned. “I wish we had retained the full name, Khushi Ram & Behari Lal, instead of the abbreviation, as it speaks volumes about our legacy,” says Mittal. “After all, there’s a lot in the name.” The legacy that Mittal refers to spans a century. The company, headquartered in Noida, has come a long way since it was founded in 1889 in Lyallpur (present day Faisalabad in Pakistan) by Behari Lal—Mittal’s great grandfather—and his brother Khushi Ram. Back then, it had interests primarily in cotton-spinning mills; it was also involved in banking and textiles. Rice mills, now its mainstay, comprised just a miniscule part of the overall business then. Today, KRBL is the world’s largest rice miller and exporter with over 30 percent share of the domestic and 25 percent share of the branded basmati rice export market. It runs two plants—one in Dhuri, Punjab, and the other in Gautam Buddha Nagar in Uttar Pradesh—with a combined milling capacity of 195 MT per hour, according to Karvy Stock Broking. Apart from the flagship India Gate basmati rice, KRBL’s other basmati brands include Doon Basmati, Nur Jahan and Bemisal. While the company has mainly positioned itself as a basmati provider, in the non-basmati category its brands include Aarati. In addition, the company also produces value-added products such as bran oil and has an installed renewable energy capacity—comprising bio-mass, wind and solar—of about 134 MW.
    For the financial year ended March 31, 2016, KRBL reported a total income of Rs 3,594 crore and a net profit of Rs 334 crore. Experts say the figures are not surprising given the company’s brand strength, quality distribution, lower cost of raw material and higher price realisation. KRBL’s market capitalisation too has grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 86 percent over the last five years to touch Rs 9,699 crore on March 31, 2017. In the last one year alone, its shares have surged by 88 percent on BSE to touch Rs 430 on April 24, 2017. “I believe the major inflection point for KRBL was after FY12. The management prepared a road map to increase the exposure to basmati rice and the domestic market,” says Deven R Choksey, managing director, KR Choksey Investment Managers. “The company developed a lot in terms of its distribution channel. This has helped them improve their penetration in the domestic market. Besides, they have increased their presence across different international markets, which has also reduced vulnerability in financial performance,” he adds. For instance, Iran’s ban on rice imports between October 2014 and December 2015 only had limited impact on the financial growth of KRBL as it was largely offset by strong growth in other West Asian countries. “Going ahead, the lifting of Iran’s ban on [rice] imports along with Indian youth showing a preference for basmati could aid topline growth for industry players,” says Choksey. Business was ingrained in me at a very young age and I started working when I was all of 12, giving a helping hand to my father who had suffered a heart attack then,” the 65-year-old Mittal tells Forbes India. After witnessing success in the cotton trade in Pakistan, Mittal’s family had migrated to India in 1947 during Partition. “It was a few years before my birth. My family came back from Pakistan in a chartered flight and landed at Safdarjung airport in Delhi. Life changed for everyone and business had to begin from scratch,” Mittal says, recalling the stories narrated to him by his father. While they had three other properties in India, the family chose to set up its headquarters at Naya Bazar, Delhi’s famous grocery market, and began as trade agents. Scaling up, “from small to big”, is an easier transition than “falling from top to bottom”, says Mittal, pointing out that the hardships, then, are far more. His family, he remembers, in the early 1950s had made a refugee claim worth Rs 3 crore to the government for lost property. Of that, assets worth Rs 1 crore were sanctioned and those rejected were claims for properties registered in the name of the company. “We were told we would get money only for properties registered in our name,” says Mittal. With the money they got—which was to the tune of Rs 3.5 lakh—KRBL started a business of running oil mills and rice mills. Mittal officially joined the business in 1968. “Ours was a large family. I had many uncles who were a part of the business. I realised that if I had to make my mark I would have to do something innovative, even if that meant taking the same business forward.” Mittal then briefly worked at his maternal uncle’s flour mill in Uttar Pradesh. “Those were the days when I was trying to do things on my own and it was an enriching experience that changed my life. Flour mills were like money-churning machines. I garnered enough experience to start off on my own.” In the mid-1970s, Mittal bagged a tender to supply barley to the army. “That was the turning point in my life,” he says with a beaming smile, and “there wasn’t any looking back since”. From barley, the transition to a full-fledged rice business, he says, was not too cumbersome. “KRBL was already in the rice business, but that was with the whole family. I decided to redefine the business and focus primarily on rice, changing the company’s name to Anil Trading Company. But soon after its success, I changed the name back to Khushi Ram & Behari Lal.” It became KRBL in the late 1990s. The early years purely went into trading in rice. “We became suppliers to leading domestic exporters. And as fortune favours the brave, when India opened rice exports in 1978-79, life changed completely for us,” says Mittal, who kick-started the process to export the grain himself in the mid-1980s. “By then, we had already made a name for ourselves in the industry and also knew the key people. From supplying rice to big exporters, we decided to become exporters ourselves,” says Mittal. “The remarkable growth that the company has witnessed has to do with the management’s involvement in every aspect of the business right from seed development to modern farming,” says Jagannadham Thunuguntla, head of fundamental research, Karvy Stock Broking.
    On more than one occasion, KRBL has shown its prowess in identifying the right variety of rice that the market would accept. In the 1990s, when KRBL recognised Pusa No 1 as a variety of basmati, it was rejected by the entire industry. Today, it is one of the most popular basmati rice varieties in the world. Again, in the early 2000s, when KRBL introduced Pusa 1121 (the grains of which are slightly longer than Pusa basmati rice) to the market, it once again took the industry by surprise. This was a special basmati line developed by the Pusa Institute, Delhi, but the industry could not foresee its potential. “I decided to cultivate and multiply this variety [Pusa 1121] in our contract farming programme on a commercial basis,” says Mittal. KRBL’s own research and development team and scientists were involved in this project, and they were the first ones to bring Pusa 1121 into the market—export as well as domestic. “When Pusa 1121 was launched, it just swept the markets across the world. The entire industry was astounded with the sensational success of this variety,” recalls Mittal. According to company data, of the 12 million tonnes of basmati paddy currently being produced in India annually, Pusa 1121 accounts for about 6 million tonnes. Another decision that Mittal claims to have worked in favour of the company is the takeover of Oswal Agro Furane, a sick unit in Punjab, from the High Court of Punjab & Haryana in 2003. Today, it is the biggest rice plant in the world with a capacity of 140 MT per hour and can process about 1 million tonnes of paddy per year which is about 7 percent of the paddy cultivated in Punjab. The success of any business, Mittal knew, was not in the vision alone. A lot depends on execution too. “When I started doing business, I used to look up to large business houses. While it’s not fair to take names, it was my dream to grow into those kind of mighty and huge establishments one day,” says Mittal. “But over the years, I have also seen many reputed enterprises coming down drastically. The descents have been as quick as the ascents.”
    I entered this industry as a young man... facing formidable competitors. The beginning was very modest and the journey intimidating.
    While KRBL is run by Mittal, his brothers, and daughter Priyanka, he says he is focusing on a lean organisation which would be nimble enough to adapt to quick changes. After all, the basic strength of any setup comes from its people. Key departments such as human resources and marketing work in tandem to “choose the right people for the right positions, so that the right decisions are taken at the right time. And it is important that all the people are capable of thinking and acting in their individual capacity,” says Mittal. For any business to grow, an employee should be allowed to function like an entrepreneur in his sphere of activity, he adds. The intrepid Mittal has travelled a fair distance in his entrepreneurial journey, but “there is still a big gap between my dream and my [position] today,” says Mittal. “I entered this industry as a young man, and I saw myself facing formidable competitors. The beginning was very modest and the journey intimidating. But you cannot give up.”

    (This story appears in the 26 May, 2017 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

  • Price cap on basmati rice imports by Iran worries Indian exporters

     MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 19:The delay in restart of basmati rice imports by Iran and the new price cap of $850 a tonne could pose a major challenge for exporters in India. Basmati rice prices have rallied by 20-25 per cent since Iran announced to lift the five-month-old ban on imports from India last month. India exported 4.05 million tonne (mt) of basmati rice last fiscal. Of this, one mt was to Iran. This year, the industry expects overall exports to dip to 3.8 mt due to lower exports to Iran. Deepak Jotwani, Assistant Vice-President, ICRA, said, “Iran is a major export destination for Indian basmati rice and a decline in demand from Iran has played a major role in pulling down export realisation to $784 a tonne in the first eight months of this fiscal against $1,298 a tonne in FY14.” Iran’s strategyOver the years, Iran has imposed ban on basmati rice imports from time-to-time to reduce its inventory held by its traders and safeguard the interests of its local farmers. Iran last imposed a ban on basmati rice imports in July 2016. The Union government had sent a trade delegation to Iran in January to resolve the issue. Following this, it was expected that the import ban would be removed soon. While there has been no official notification from Iran, a group of large basmati rice importers in Iran have recently capped the price of basmati rice at $850 a tonne. In another adverse development for the industry, the US has recently imposed fresh trade sanctions on Iran, which restrains Iran from using dollar for trade. These two developments have created uncertainty around the resumption of basmati rice exports to Iran, said Jotwani. 75% goes to West Asia While basmati rice is consumed across the globe, West Asian countries accounted for 75 per cent of Indian basmati exports last fiscal. Within West Asia, Iran and Saudi Arabia are the two largest buyers, together accounting for 40-50 per cent of total basmati rice exports from India. In the past, Iran had been placed under economic sanctions by the US, Europe and the United Nations, following which India started transacting in rupee through UCO Bank to facilitate trade between India and Iran. This led to a surge in Indian basmati rice exports to Iran.
    (This article was published on February 19, 2017)
  • After Trump sanctions, currency crisis in Iran hits India’s basmati exports

  • Trade sources believe that Iran is looking to use the euro in place of the dollar

    Branded basmati sales to touch 2.9 mt
    Uncertainty over the use of currency for bilateral trade has put India's basmati rice exports to Iran in doldrums following hesitation over use of the dollar after fresh sanctions levied by the United States on the Islamic country.
    US President Donald Trump levied sanctions over 13 Iranian individuals and 12 entities for their support to the Iranian administration over the test of a non-nuclear ballistic missile last month. According to trade sources, Iranian authorities are hesitating over the use of the dollar for bilateral trade with friendly countries, including India. Since India has already cleared its oil dues in dollars, Iran lacks rupee denominated currencies in its foreign currency reserves which has created uncertainty over India's basmati rice exports to that country.
    Trade sources believe that Iran is looking to use the euro in place of the dollar. But, nothing has been finalised yet. Hence, till the final decision is taken, India's basmati rice exports to Iran would not resume. Shipment for old contracts, however, would continue.
    "India had a bilateral understanding with Iran for settlement of oil purchase in rupee. In fact, India cleared all dues emanating from crude oil purchase in dollar. Hence, the cash reserves in the rupee have exhausted. Interestingly, Iran is hesitating to use the dollar for bilateral trade in response to US sanctions on it. The Iranian administration has also not taken any final decision on the use of any alternative currency. Hence, uncertainty is plaguing India's basmati rice exports to Iran. Until the dark cloud over the use of currency recedes, India's basmati rice export to Iran is unlikely to resume," said Gurnam Arora, joint managing director, Kohinoor Foods Ltd, the producer and exporter of Kohinoor brand basmati rice.
    Meanwhile, a group of over six to eight importers in Iran has set $850 a tonne as the maximum import price of basmati rice from India which Indian exporters find unviable due to a sharp increase in the prices over the last four months. Indian exporters are seeking a minimum price of $925-950 a tonne for basmati rice exports to Iran.
    A senior Apeda (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) official said that the government of Iran has not set any price for basmati rice import from India.
    "The currency issue can be dealt with bilaterally (between buyers and sellers) through use of alternative ones like euro, yen and rupee. So, our request to exporters is not to sell basmati rice at a loss. They should wait till a clear price signal is received from the market," a senior industry official said.
    Meanwhile, the price of the benchmark basmati rice in the wholesale market near New Delhi jumped by 50 per cent to trade at Rs 72 a kg now from Rs 48 a kg on October 1. Indian exporters, therefore, are seeking a similar increase in realisation from basmati exports to Iran. In the last two tenders, the average realisation works out to $650-700 a tonne.
    "Iran's move to put a cap is a result of cartel of importers there. However, Iran has also reduced duty on basmati rice to 26 per cent now from 40 per cent earlier to ensure that its countrymen get rice at a lower cost. Pakistan will get some advantage of this as their logistic cost is lower due to proximity with Iran," said Rajiv Tevtiya, managing director, RML AgTech, a city-based agri technology and advisory firm.
    Meanwhile, data compiled by Apeda showed India's basmati rice exports at 2.9 million tonnes between April and December of 2016, 0.1 million tonnes lower than the same period last year. Its export, however, is likely to get a boost and touch last financial year's level of 4 million tonnes by March 2017, said an Apeda official.
    Of around 1 million tonnes of annual imports, Iran has purchased nearly 0.5 million tonnes from India between April and December, 2016.
  • Rice basmati edges up on scattered buying

  • New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) In restricted activity, rice basmati traded higher by Rs 100 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today on scattered buying by stockists following uptick in demand.

    New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) In restricted activity, rice basmati traded higher by Rs 100 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today on scattered buying by stockists following uptick in demand. However, other grains after moving in a narrow range on little doing, settled at the previous levels. Traders said, some buying by stockists following pick-up in demand from retailers against restricted supplies from producing belts, mainly helped rice basmati prices to close in positive zone. In the national capital, rice basmati Pusa-1121 variety went up by Rs 100 to Rs 5,900-7,300 per quintal. Following are today’s quotations (in Rs per quintal): Wheat MP (desi) Rs 2,800-3,100, Wheat dara (for mills) Rs 2,020-2,030, Chakki atta (delivery) Rs 2,030-2,060, Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) Rs 285, Shakti Bhog (10 kg) Rs 285, Roller flour mill Rs 1,120-1,130 (50 kg), Maida Rs 1,190-1,200 (50 kg)and Sooji Rs 1,250-1,260 (50 kg). Basmati rice (Lal Quila) Rs 10,700, Shri Lal Mahal Rs 11,300, Super Basmati Rice Rs 9,700, Basmati common new Rs 7,100-7,300, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 5,900-7,300, Permal raw Rs 2,200-2,250, Permal wand Rs 2,300-2,400, Sela Rs 3,000-3,100 and Rice IR-8 Rs 2,000-2,025, Bajra Rs 1,440-1,480, Jowar yellow Rs 1750-1800, white Rs 3,500-3,700, Maize Rs 1,590-1,600, Barley Rs 1,800-1,820.