Rice exporters oppose blanket ban on export of non-basmati rice

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New Delhi, Oct 17 (UNI) Rice exporters have opposed the blanket ban recently imposed by the Government on export of all non-Basmati rice saying that it has led to a crash in prices of premium aromatic varieties.

Effective from October 9, the Government had taken a decision to ban the export which called a crash in the prices of Pusa-1121 paddy in major mandis of Haryana from around Rs 2,040 to Rs 1,900 a quintal.

Harvesting of the other premium non-notified variety - CSR-30 - is yet to start, with market arrivals slated from the first week of November.

The government's move to ban export of all premium variety non-Basmati rice is directed at reining the inflation and to safeguard food security of the country.

Sharply reacting to the ban, Mr Vijay Setia, President, All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), today said ''Conceding that any Government of the day will be sensitive to the PDS requirements I am not sure how a blanket ban on all non-Basmati rices helps''.

A number of premium varieties grown in the country and such premium rice is not needed for the PDS. And the ban of its export would cause harm to a chain of business including the farmers as well, he added.

Indian rice trades between 280 US dollar a tonne to 1,300 dollar a tonne in global markets. It has a very wide range.

''Ironically, the export of premium non basmati rice is a production multiplier,'' Mr Setia said.

Questioninbg the ban on agri exports , Mr Setia said "Is it not a mechanism that forces a farmer to subsidize the middle class?" Looking at the big picture, it is important for non PDS consumers to recognize they have to pay a higher amount for the food they consume.

Farming in India is unviable at today's rates. Banning rice varieties that cost well above the PDS quality rice does not help the country. Growing of export quality products are a small way in which the farmer supplements his marginal incomes he gets from growing for the domestic consumer.

During 2006-07, the country officially exported 10.41 lakh tonnes (lt) of basmati rice, valued at Rs 2,778.31 crore, with the corresponding figures for non-basmati being 37.05 lt and Rs 4,257.88 crore.

The irony is that this time around 50 per cent of the country's area under basmati has been sown under Pusa-1121, with CSR-30 accounting for another 25 per cent.

That leaves just 25 per cent under officially notified basmati varieties, including Pusa Basmati-1 (20 per cent) and traditional tall cultivars (5 per cent).


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