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India considering to extend parboiled rice tax in risk to world supply

Any such move could add to the rally in benchmark Asian rice prices, which are hovering near a 15-year high after India began restricting sales of key varieties in 2023.

Parboiled Rice, Which Accounted For About 30 Per Cent Of India’s Total Exports Before The Curbs, Is The Result Of A Process That Involves Partial Boiling Of Paddy Before Milling To Boost Its Nutritional Values | File Image

By Pratik Parija

India, the world’s top rice shipper, may extend an export tax on the parboiled variety as part of efforts to ease food inflation ahead of national elections, a move that could keep world supply tight and send prices to new peaks. 

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will seek a third term in the polls due in the first half of this year, is considering keeping the export levy at 20 per cent, according to people familiar with the matter. There is no immediate proposal to ban exports of parboiled rice, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are confidential. The tax is currently due to expire March 31.

Any such move could add to the rally in benchmark Asian rice prices, which are hovering near a 15-year high after India began restricting sales of key varieties in 2023. That would be bad news for some countries in West Africa and the Middle East that rely on the South Asian nation for most of their requirements of the food staple.

A spokesperson representing both the food and commerce ministries didn’t immediately comment.

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An extension of the levy would be a part of the government’s aggressive measures to control food inflation that climbed to almost 10 per cent in December from a year earlier. India has already curbed exports of wheat, sugar and most rice varieties, and cracked down on hoarding. It has also extended low edible oil import duties for another year.

Still, retail prices of rice in Delhi remain about 11 per cent higher than a year ago. Food Minister Piyush Goyal launched a programme Tuesday to provide subsidized rice to retail customers across the country. The government is already selling wheat flour and chickpeas at cheaper-than-market rates.

Parboiled rice, which accounted for about 30 per cent of India’s total exports before the curbs, is the result of a process that involves partial boiling of paddy before milling to boost its nutritional values and change the texture of cooked rice. The South Asian nation had a share of about 40 per cent in the global rice trade in 2022-23.

https://www.business-standard.com/economy/news/india-considering-to-extend-parboiled-rice-tax-in-risk-to-world-supply-124020700710_1.html QR Code

Published Date: February 7, 2024

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