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‘MEP imposed on Basmati to curb illegal export of white rice’

Despite MEP, the fragrant rice consignments from the country increased 8%, says Minister Anupriya Patel.

The Centre has imposed minimum export price (MEP) for Basmati rice not with an intention to restrict exports but in view of “credible field reports” that non-Basmati white rice was being exported under the HS code of Basmati rice, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Anupriya Patel told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

“In order to control illegal exports of non-Basmati rice, the Government, on August 26, issued directions to the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) to register contracts for Basmati exports only with the value of $1,200 a tonne and above. After extensive stakeholders’ consultations, the Government has decided to reduce the base price for registration of contracts by APEDA to $950 a tonne, with effect from October 26,” she said in a written reply.

The Centre banned exports of non-basmati white rice from July 20. Despite the cap through MEP, the fragrant rice’s exports has not been affected. During the first seven months of the current fiscal, the quantity of Basmati rice exported increased by 8.21 per cent.

Giving details of the export, the Minister said India exported 26.08 lakh tonnes (lt) of Basmati rice valued $2,958.52 million during April-October of 2023-24 against 24.10 lt valued $2,544.53 million in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

Month-wise comparison of exports showed that India exported 4.01 lt of Basmati rice valued $451.09 million, 2.98 lt valued $365.29 million and 3.01 lt valued $368.54 million during August, September and October of 2023-24, respectively.

India exported 3.70 lt of Basmati rice valued $408.15 million, 2.80 lt valued $303.21 million and 2.54 lt valued $266.18 million, during August, September and October of 2022-23, respectively.

Cardamom surging

Replying to a separate question on the prices of cardamom, Anupriya Patel said the prices of cardamom (small) have shown an increasing trend from the 2021-22 crop season (August-July) onwards.

The weighted average auction price of cardamom (small) has gone up from ₹934.94 a kg in the crop season of 2021-22 to ₹1088.51 a kg in crop season of 2022-23.

Giving the provisional figures for August-October of the current crop season, she said weighted average auction price of cardamom (small) was at ₹1828.52 a kg.

Though the price of cardamom is determined in the open market based on supply and demand, the Spices Board has taken various steps to improve price realization for cardamom growers, she said.

Answering another separate query on whether Guatemalan cardamom is mixed with Indian cardamom and pooled at the auctions, she said Spices Board received one reference regarding such mixing.

“However, Spices Board has informed that there is no evidence, so far, to prove that Guatemalan cardamom is mixed with Indian cardamom and pooled in the e-auctions. Spices Board has also issued directions to all the auctioneers to take necessary action to ensure that lots mixed with cardamom from Guatemala are not pooled for sale in the e-auctions,” she said.

Banana export

To another query on the export of banana, the Minister said India is the largest producer of banana. Banana has huge domestic consumption base within the country. Distance from markets such as the US and EU has also contributed to low exports as the product is perishable.

Stating that the Government has been taking several steps, including those required to improve quality and shelf life, to promote export of bananas, she said these measures have resulted in significant increase in exports of banana during the past three years.

India’s export of banana increased from 2.32 lt valued $99.86 million in 2020-21 to 3.76 lt valued $157.86 million in 2021-22. However, India’s banana export stood at 3.61 lt valued $174.83 million in 2022-23.

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/mep-imposed-on-basmati-to-curb-illegal-export-of-white-rice/article67610753.ece QR Code

Published Date: December 6, 2023

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