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Five new varieties to expand India’s Basmati platter

Oct 25, 2022

Five new varieties of seeds of Basmati rice, developed by a group of scientists led by the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) Director Dr. Ashok Kumar Singh in 2020 and 2021, are all set to bring revolutionary changes in the way Basmati rice is cultivated in the country.
Three of the five varieties can resist two common diseases of paddy (one bacterial and one fungal). The other two varieties can save 35% of water as the method of Direct Sowing of Rice (DSR) can be used to raise them. These two seeds are resistant to herbicides too, helping the farmers control weeds more efficiently.
In the next three years, all of the five seeds will have the combined qualities of disease and herbicide resistance, says Dr. Singh.
“This is a landmark achievement. We started the research in 2008. This is 100% indigenous revolution using indigenous breeding programmes,” Dr. Singh tells The Hindu. “This will help in increasing farmers’ income by reducing the cost of cultivation, by improving production and by realising price of their labour and input cost. The cost of cultivation will be reduced. It will reduce the use of pesticides and water. If the production is free from residue, it will get better prices,” he explained.
Export in mind
India is known for its Basmati rice, with seven States — Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand — earmarked for geographical indication. Basmati, known for its mouthfeel, aroma, length of the grain when cooked and taste, has a market abroad and brings about ?30,000 crore foreign exchange every year. While 75% of the export is to West Asian countries, European Union countries also import Indian Basmati. However, recently, the export to EU countries faced certain hurdles due to the increase in the pesticide residue levels in the rice from India.
Dr. Singh says that over a period of time, as the area of cultivation increased, traditional varieties become susceptible to two major diseases — bacterial leaf blight (BLB) and blast (leaf and collar) diseases caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. Pesticides and fungicides used against these diseases increased the residue levels permitted in developed countries.
“Achieving the permitted levels is very difficult if we are using pesticides for controlling pests. The only way was that we bring in genetic resistance so that we do not have to spray pesticides and fungicides. So, from Pusa Basmati 1121, we developed Pusa Basmati 1885; from Pusa Basmati 1509, we developed Pusa Basmati 1847; Pusa Basmati 1401 was improved to develop Pusa Basmati 1886. All these varieties have two genes to resist BLB and two genes to resist blast disease. Farmers need not use pesticides and it will decrease the cost of farming by ?3,000 per acre. Because of effective disease control, production will increase and most importantly, there is no question of pesticide residue and our consignments will not be rejected,” Dr. Singh says.
The IARI provided one kilogram each to about 10,000 farmers in these seven States in 2021. “They had grown these crops during this kharif season. In the last week of September, I travelled 1,500 kilometres to see for myself how the crop is doing and to hear the feedback from farmers. I stayed at the residences of farmers. There is phenomenal response for these varieties. I am hoping that from next year, these varieties will change the scenario of Basmati cultivation and it will directly help in terms of addressing the problem of pesticides residue,” Dr. Singh says, sharing hopes of an increased coverage area in the next crop year. “I have asked farmers to keep this year’s produce for next year as seeds,” he adds.
The IARI developed Pusa Basmati 1979 and Pusa Basmati 1985 as herbicide tolerant rice by improving the Pusa Basmati 1121 and Pusa Basmati 1509, respectively. The traditional way of paddy cultivation relied on transplanting the plants into a water-filled field midway through the cycle. “Around 3,000 litres of water is required for one kilogram of Basmati rice. This has impacted the groundwater table of States like Punjab and Haryana. We have to change the practice of cultivating transplanted variety of paddy to direct sowing of rice (DSR). Water saving is 35% in DSR and the requirement will be 2,000 litres of water for a kilogram of rice. The second advantage is that the green house gas emission is reduced by 35% as water is not stagnating in this process. Labour cost of transplantation, which is about ?3,000, is also saved. Overall, saving will be at least ?4,000 per acre. Just do the sowing in the field and let the crop grow there,” he says.
However, one of the major problem in the DSR is weeds. Without the water acting as a herbicide, the DSR method allows for lot of weeds to crop up in the field. “So, we transferred a gene that is resistant to a herbicide. So, when farmers spray herbicide, weeds will be killed, not paddy,” he says.
Process in place
The first process in developing these two varieties was to do a mutation breeding using a chemical called Ethyl Methanesulfonate (EMS) to identify a variant in the plant that survives the application of herbicide.
“Last year, we released the seed to farmers on an experimental process. This is a non-genetically modified herbicide-tolerant seed. GM is a good technology but many markets such as European Union doesn’t accept GM rice. We get about ?8,000 crore from exporting Basmati rice to EU countries. A minor step is incomplete, which is making an application to the Central Insecticide Board’s registration committee to allow us to expand its label claim to this variety. The process may take some time. We have to submit dossiers about the efficacy of the seed. The data has been submitted. We hope that all formalities will be cleared by next crop season. This year, we have done trialling under control. Everything is fine. It provides effective weed control. The cooking quality is also excellent. There is no residue of any kind of herbicides,” Dr. Singh says.
Source: The Hindu

Non-Basmati rice is India’s top export item under APEDA basket; contributes 1/4th to total.

Jan 04, 2022

India’s agricultural and processed food exports have grown at a steady pace in the last decade notwithstanding several logistical challenges faced in the global trade of the commodities, according to a year-ender released by Ministry of Commerce & Industry recently.
Exports of agricultural and processed food products under Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) basket rose to USD 20,674 million (Rs 15,30,50 crore) during 2020-21, from USD 17,321 million (Rs 83,484 crore) in 2011-12, according to data by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S).
Non-Basmati Rice has emerged as India’s top export item among the many agricultural and processed food product exports under APEDA basket, contributing close to one fourth of the total exports in 2020-21.
Top three products in the APEDA export basket in 2020-21 were Non-Basmati Rice (23.22% share), Basmati Rice (19.44%) and Buffalo Meat (15.34%) and these products together account for 58 per cent of total shipments.
India’s Non-Basmati rice exports was valued at USD 4799.91 million (Rs 35,477 crore) in 2020-21, with Basmati Rice exports a close second at USD 4018.71 million (Rs 29,850 crore), followed by Buffalo Meat exports at USD 3171.19 million (Rs23,460 crore).
Benin, Nepal, Bangladesh, Senegal and Togo were the top importers of Non-Basmati Rice from India in 2020-21. Major export destinations for Basmati Rice in 2020-21 were Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and United Arab Emirates. For Buffalo Meat exports, the top importing nations were Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt and Indonesia.
“We continue to focus on creating infrastructure for boosting exports by focusing on clusters in collaboration with state governments while taking into consideration aim of Agriculture Export Policy, 2018,” Dr M Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA, said.
APEDA has been engaged with State Governments for the implementation of Agriculture Export Policy. Maharashtra, U.P., Kerala, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Manipur, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, M.P., Mizoram and Meghalaya have finalized the State Specific Action Plan for exports while the action plans of other States are at different stages of finalization.
According to World Trade Organization (WTO) data, India’s agricultural exports touched USD 37,371 million in 2019 against USD 23,106 million in 2010, recording a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.49 per cent during the last ten years. CAGR of the world's agricultural exports was 3.11 per cent during 2010 to 2019.
India’s share in world agricultural exports stood at 2.1 per cent in 2019, moving up from 1.71 per cent in 2010. However, India’s rank in worldwide agricultural exports slipped to 16 in 2019 from 17 in 2010, according to data released by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In terms of share of top ten products exports under APEDA basket, there has not been much change in the last one decade even as India’s exports reached more countries across the world. The top ten APEDA exports in share terms in 2020-21 were Non-Basmati Rice (23.22%), Basmati Rice (19.44%), Buffalo Meat (15.34%), Miscellaneous Preparations (3.84%), Groundnuts (3.52%), Cereal Preparations (3.08%), Maize (3.07%), Wheat (2.66%), Processed Vegetables (2.43%), Processed Fruits, Juices & Nuts (2.07%) and Cashew Kernels (2.03%).
In 2011-12, the top ten APEDA export in share terms were Guargum (19.89%), Basmati Rice (18.60%), Buffalo Meat (16.56%), Non-Basmati Rice (10.43%), Groundnuts (6.32%), Maize (6.21%), Cereal Preparations (2.26%), Fresh Onions (2.07%), Alcoholic Beverages (1.76%) and Processed Vegetables (1.47%).
In 2020-21, the top ten products in the APEDA export basket account for more than 78 per cent in total exports against 85 per cent in 2010-11.
Top ten APEDA exports in value terms during 2020-21 were Non-Basmati Rice (USD 4799.91 million / Rs 35,477 crore), Basmati Rice (USD 4018.71 million / Rs 29,850 crore), Buffalo Meat (USD 3171.19 million / Rs 23,460 crore), Miscellaneous Preparations (USD 793.08 million / Rs 5,866 crore), Groundnuts (USD 727.4 million / Rs 5,382 crore), Cereal Preparations (USD 635.75 million / Rs 4,706 crore), Maize (USD 634.85 million / Rs 4,676 crore), Wheat (USD 549.7 million / Rs 4,038 crore), Processed Vegetables (USD 502million / Rs 3,719 crore) and Processed Fruits, Juices & Nuts (USD 428million / Rs 3,173 crore).
Top ten APEDA exports in value terms during 2011-12 were Guargum (USD 3446.37million / Rs 16,524 crore), Basmati Rice (USD 3222.31 million / Rs 15,450 crore), Buffalo Meat (USD 2869.36 million / Rs 13,757 crore), Non-Basmati Rice (USD 1806.03 million / Rs 8,659 crore), Groundnuts (USD 1094.25 million / Rs 5,246 crore), Maize (USD 1075.7 million / Rs 5,158 crore), Cereal Preparations (USD 392.21 million / Rs 1,889 crore), Fresh Onions (USD 359.36 million / Rs 1,723 crore), Alcoholic Beverages (USD 304.4 million / Rs 1,459 crore) and Processed Vegetables (USD 254.56 million / Rs 1,250 crore).
The rise in export of agricultural and processed food products has been largely due to the various initiatives taken by APEDA such as organizing B2B exhibitions in different countries, exploring new potential markets through product specific and general marketing campaigns by active involvement of Indian Embassies.
APEDA has also taken several initiatives to promote geographical indications (GI) registered agricultural and processed food products in India by organizing virtual Buyer Seller Meets on agricultural and food products with the major importing countries across the world.
In order to ensure seamless quality certification of products to be exported, APEDA has recognized 220 labs across India to provide services of testing to a wide range of products and exporters.
APEDA also assists in up-gradation and strengthening of recognized laboratories for export testing and residue monitoring plans. APEDA also provides assistance under the financial assistance schemes of infrastructure development, quality improvement and market development for boosting export of agricultural products.
APEDA organizes participation of exporters in the International Trade Fairs, which provides a platform to the exporters to market their food products in the global marketplace. APEDA also organizes National events like AAHAR, Organic World Congress, BioFach India etc. to promote agri-exports.
APEDA also initiates registration of pack-houses for horticulture products for meeting the quality requirements of the international market. Registration of export units for peanut shelling and grading and processing units, for instance, is to ensure quality adherence for the EU and non EU countries.
APEDA carries out registration of meat processing plants and abattoirs for ensuring compliance with global food safety and quality requirements. Another key initiative includes development and implementation of traceability systems which ensure the food safety and quality compliances of the importing countries. For boosting exports, APEDA compiles and disseminates various international trade analytical information, market access information amongst exporters and address trade enquiries.
Source: fnbnews

Agri exports to see moderate rise as Basmati rice shipment declines

Jan 29, 2015

India’s agricultural and processed food exports in the current fiscal are expected to see a moderate growth in comparison to the previous year, mainly due to the anticipated fall in shipment of Basmati rice.

Official sources told FE that decline in shipment due to dip in Basmati rice export would be offset by increase in buffalo meat and fruits and vegetables shipment during the fiscal year.

As per the data available with Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda), India has exported goods worth of more than R87,553 crore during April – November, 2014, which is marginally higher than the shipment during the same period last year.

Last fiscal, the country’s agricultural goods exports from the Apeda basket was R1,36,920 crore.

agricultural, food exports, processed food exports, Basmati rice

“We expect the agricultural goods exports to increase marginally this fiscal mainly because of slowdown in Basmati rice shipment,” Santosh Sarangi, director, Apeda, said. In the first eight months of current fiscal, buffalo meat exports have witnessed an increase of more than 17% to R19, 590 crore as compared to same period last year.

However, with Iran the country’s biggest exports destination for Basmati rice, putting a halt on rice imports because of sufficient domestic stocks, India’s premium aromatic rice exports in terms of volume could decline by around 10% in the current fiscal. In terms of value of Basmati rice exports, the shipment decline could be sharper, industry sources said.

Out of total exports of 3.7 million tonne of Basmati rice from the country in 2013-14 , 1.4 million tonne of rice was shipped to Iran. Sources said the shipment to Iran would fall to around 9 lakh tonne. Last fiscal, India exported Basmati rice worth of R29, 291 crore.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the commerce ministry is visiting Iran early next month to discuss possibilities of reviving rice exports.

Besides rice exports, another worrying trend has been sharp fall in realisation from Guargum shipments because of decline in prices. The realisation from Guargum, mostly used in the US- based oil exploration company, has declined by close to 16% to R6,878 crore in Apri-November, 2014 as compared to same period previous year.

However, the shipment of processed vegetables and fruits, have seen a sharp rise of 39% and 10% respectively in April-November, 2014. The value of exports of processed vegetables and fruits were R1,125 crore and R2,329 crore respectively during the period.

The shipment of other commodities, which witnessed a rise, includes poultry products, groundnut, cocoa products.

Apeda has identified 20 odd clusters located across the country for sustaining growth in the country’s food products exports in the future.

These clusters include Basmati rice (Haryana & Punjab), buffalo meat (western Uttar Pradesh), grape and grape wine (Nasik region, Maharastra), pomegranate (Satara and Pune regions of Maharashtra), dehydrated onions and garlic (Gujarat), poultry or egg (Namakkal) and mango pulp (Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra).

“Indian agriculture seems to have a greater comparative trade advantage than manufactured goods. This has been possible as the sector has responded by undergoing a structural transformation,” a paper by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) chief Ashok Gulati recently stated.


Source: The Financial Express

U.S. New Fungicide Limits Likely to Boost India Basmati Rice Exports

Mar 18, 2014

The U.S. is likely to relax its import tolerance norms for a fungicide found in Indian basmati rice by July 2014, according to local sources.

Indian traders say that basmati rice shipments from India have been facing rejections by the U.S. in the last few years because of absence of the "maximum residue limit” (MRL) for Tricylazole fungicide which is used by some basmati rice farmers in India. The fungicide is manufactured by a U.S.-based company but is currently not registered in the U.S. which currently uses the default level of 0.1 parts per million (ppm) as harmful.

The manufacturer of Tricylazole fungicide submitted all toxicity data to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in September 2012, and recommended an import tolerance of 3 ppm for the fungicide. Last month, Indian basmati exporters appealed to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner to find a solution. This week, India's Commerce Ministry officials told local sources that the EPA is likely to decide on import tolerance limits for Tricylazole fungicide by July 2014.

Indian traders say the move is likely to boost India basmati rice exports. According to India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), India exported about 91,546 tons of basmati rice to the U.S. in FY 2012-13 (April to March), which is about 3% of total basmati rice exports of around 3.46 million tons by India in the year. In FY 2013-14 (April – December), India’s total basmati rice exports stand at around 2.74 million tons, of which the U.S. accounts for around 81,769 tons (3% of total basmati rice exports by India).


US to ease Basmati quality norms soon

Mar 14, 2014

The US has assured India that it will relax its stringent tolerance norms for fungicide found in Basmati shipped from the country.

Basmati exporters from India have been battling rejections in the US market for over two years as the country does not have a ‘maximum residue limit’ (MRL) for Tricylazole fungicide. All consignments that have traces of the fungicide over the default level of 0.1 parts per million (ppm) are being treated as potentially harmful by US importers.

Moreover, consignments also have to go through detailed scrutiny because of ambiguity on Tricylazole limits leading to cost and time over-runs as many Indian companies are under the country’s import alert.

“We are hopeful that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will come up with a MRL of 3 by July this year which will take care of most of the problems faced by our Basmati exporters,” a Commerce Ministry official told Business Line.

Dow Chem, the manufacturer of Tricylazole pesticide, has supplied the complete dossier of the insecticide to the US EPA which includes all information such as molecular composition and toxicity data. The EPA will use this data to come up with a MRL for the pesticide.

“Our industry has had to pay Dow Chem for the services it has rendered as it is not within its normal course of obligation to give submissions to the US Government. But, this is an investment worth making,” the official said.

India exported Basmati rice worth $240 million to the US in 2012-13. In the first 10 months of the current fiscal, Basmati exports to the country are at $121.8 billion.

“Once the US settles the matter satisfactorily, we expect Basmati exports to rise substantially,” the official said.


Saudi-India JV to build Basmati rice distribution hub in Dubai

Mar 03, 2014

A USD 27 million Saudi-India joint venture to supply Basmati rice to consumers in the Middle East has been established in Dubai, making the city the largest hub for rice storage and distribution in the MENA region.

Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah bin Turki, the second child of Prince Abdullah bin Turki bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and global private investor V Raman Kumar have formed the joint venture with India's rice producer, LEAF India (Lakshmi Energy and Foods Ltd.), to create the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region's largest hub for rice storage and distribution.

Pan Gulf Food and Industries have taken warehouse in Jebelali in Dubai for storing up to 100,000 tonnes of Basmati rice in its first year of operations.

The company aims to set up a processing, polishing and packaging facility with a capacity of over 100,000 tonnes of Basmati rice with an investment of over AED 100 million (nearly USD 27 million), in the next one year.

The venture, Innovo Specialty Foods JLT will market and distribute Basmati rice processed and packed by Pan Gulf Food and Industries exclusively across the Middle East and North Africa.

"Our concept idea of creating this rice hub will aim to contribute and deliver food security objectives in the UAE," Kumar was quoted as saying by the Arab News.

"Food security is clearly an immediate priority for the UAE and wider Middle East. The region is entering a new period of economic growth underpinned by a burgeoning population with a high dependence on imported food.

"Currently, 20 per cent of all UAE imports comprise food items and 90 per cent of food is imported but there are only 3 months of basic food items stored, so food security cover is not fit for the rapidly growing economy," he said.

Kumar said the 100,000 tonnes of Basmati rice capacity that will be created in Jebel Ali, UAE, will be a giant step for this region to strengthen its food security strategy.

"We look to take this strategy to Saudi Arabia as well in the near future. We believe that execution of a core food security strategy is essential to provide a sustainable growth platform," he said.

The increasing demand for Basmati rice has been primarily driven by Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Oman, UAE and Kuwait, accounting for over 4 million tonnes of Basmati rice consumption every year.

LEAF's premium brands of Basmati rice under brand name Lakshmi Foods- Big Dad, Uncle Chef, Lazeez and Afreen will be made available initially across UAE and other Gulf countries.


India set to retain top rice exporter tag

Jan 21, 2014

Sharp rise in demand from the US, Europe and the middle-eastern countries for Basmati rice and Africa and Asian countries for non-Basmati rice, India is all set emerge as world’s top rice exporters in the current fiscal.

This will be second time in a row that India is likely to emerge as biggest rice exporter globally. As per the commerce ministry data (April-November, 2013), India has exported close to 7 million tonnes (MT) of rice and expected to ship more than 10.5 MT by end of current fiscal.

More than 2.3 MT of aromatic and long-grain Basmati rice and 4.6 MT of non-Basmati rice were exported during first eight months of the current fiscal. “Demand for rice has been rising from all across the globe and we expect to reach a record level of exports by the end of current fiscal,” a commerce ministry official said.

The exporters are targeting to achieve more than 10.5 MT of rice in 2013-14 while in the previous fiscal, the country has shipped 10 MT. Thailand and Vietnam are the other rice exporters, who ship around 7 MT of rice annually each. Rice exports have been looking northwards since the country lifted a four-year ban on non-Basmati rice shipment after in September 2011. The ministry data also indicate that last fiscal rice exports fetched more than Rs 33,800 crore while in the April-November 2013 period, India has earned more than Rs 29,000 crore.


Foodgrain output to exceed 260 mt this year: Pranab

Jan 20, 2014

 India’s foodgrain production is expected to touch a record high and cross 260 million tonne this year, President Pranab Mukherjee said today, during his visit to Baramati, the constituency of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

He also called for greater awareness about genetically modified (GM) crops to address public concerns.

He was speaking at a conference of vice chancellors of agricultural universities, directors of ICARs and farmers in Baramati.

Improve awareness and biotech education to allay public concerns on GM crops, said the President.

The President referred to the benefits that India has got through cultivation of Bt cotton and the wide adoption of GM crops, though he said there was a need to pursue “these new technologies for the benefits they provide.”

“The development of transgenic crop varieties having the novel trait of insect resistance, herbicide tolerance and hybrid production has led to significant cultivation of GM crops. These crops currently occupy 170 million hectares in 28 developed and developing countries. In India, Bt cotton has boosted production and enhanced export earnings,” Mukherjee said.

India is targeting record foodgrain production in the current fiscal.

Pointing out that the agriculture sector was a part of a dynamic and increasingly globalised world economy, he called for “the development and institutionalisation of user friendly knowledge systems to support decision making by various client groups.”

“A greater understanding of market intelligence mechanisms, good trade practices and legal aspects of the multilateral trade regime and intellectual property rights is necessary,” the President added.

The current record is 259 million tonne production achieved in 2011-12, after which the production had slipped to 255 million tonne in 2012-13.


Pawar lauds scientists’ contribution in major agricultural programmes’ success

Jan 16, 2014

At the 85th annual general meeting of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Society, agriculture and food processing minister Sharad Pawar lauded the contribution of agricultural scientists to the success of the recently-launched programmes for fast growth in foodgrain production. Talking of the rise in foodgrain production achieved by the National Food Security Mission, Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India (BGREI) and the Accelerated Pulse Production Programme, he said, “I feel an important factor contributing to the success of these programmes is the active involvement of scientists and the officials of development agencies, right at the level of farmer’s field.” “The efforts of scientists in developing high-yielding, input-efficient, disease-tolerant varieties or hybrids, along with their widespread adoption by the farmers, are visible in increasing the farm productivity, quality and quantity. Our foodgrain production increased from 198 million tonne in 2004-05 to 259 million tonne by 2011-12, at an average of about six million tonnes per annum,” Pawar informed. “The two major staple cereals of the country, wheat and rice, registered an increase of nearly 50 million tonne during this period. Overall it is important to note that foodgrain production has continuously increased despite a virtual ceiling on cultivable area of 140±2 million hectares,” he said. “Today, India is among leading rice exporters in the world. A single rice variety, Pusa Basmati 1121, has earned over Rs 18,000 crore through export last year. The active participation of ICAR in the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) enabled us to screen rust-resistant wheat germplasm and develop the high-yielding wheat variety HD 2967 with resistance to yellow rust, leaf and black rust including, Ug99,” the minister informed. “India’s export of agricultural and allied products increased from Rs 1,78,800 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 2,01,000 crore in 2012-13, registering a growth of nearly 11 per cent,” he added. Pawar informed that in 2013, ICAR released 104 new improved varieties/hybrids of different field and horticultural crops with potential for higher yields. These varieties also have enhanced resistance to various forms of stress for cultivation in diverse agro-ecological regions of the country. India is amongst the leading exporters of Basmati rice and landmark varieties such as Pusa Punjab Basmati 1509 with moderate resistance to leaf blast and brown spot diseases, and HD 3059, a wheat variety resistant to all three rusts, including stem rust race Ug99 and its variants are helping the farmers for enhanced production. ICAR produced over 11,835 tonne breeder seeds of major food crops. For the first time in India, a variety of makhana, Swarna Vaidehi, has been developed and released by ICAR’s Research Complex for Eastern Region, Patna. This variety has a production potential of 2.8–3 tonne per hectare in farmers’ fields, almost twofold higher than the productivity of traditional cultivars. On the new major research initiatives taken by ICAR with a novel approach [i.e. the National Fund for Basic, Strategic and Frontier Application Research in Agriculture (NFBSFARA) and the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP)], Pawar informed that NFBSFARA awarded 25 new projects in the last year with a total budget of Rs 50 crore on subjects ranging from climate change to use of nanotechnology for agriculture and RNAi gene silencing technology. NAIP’s research and development (R&D) activities resulted in the filing of 72 patent/intellectual property protection applications; the commercialisation of 82 technologies/products, and piloting 51 new rural industries. An agri-tech investors’ meet was organised. It brought inventors into direct contact with industry and investors. The investors’ meet was able to successfully commercialise 58 technologies and earning resources for the council. Among other initiatives and achievements of the agricultural research and education system in India, Pawar highlighted the National Initiative for Climate-resilient Agriculture (NICRA). ICAR has developed crop contingency plans for more than 450 districts in the country which were effectively used during the 2009 and 2012 droughts, moderating the impacts, as compared to droughts that struck the country earlier. In the year 2013, the states of Uttarakhand, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh were struck by natural calamities of differential, but severe intensities. ICAR prepared doable and location-specific action plans for the agriculture and allied sectors for rehabilitation and restoration of the affected areas through technological backstopping. Among the major achievements in animal research, Pawar mentioned of development of a crossbred pig and a dual-purpose rural poultry variety, Srinidhi. Scientists produced world’s first mithun calf by embryo transfer, test-tube yak calf Norgyal, calf from cloned buffalo mother, etc. Sea cage farming with seabass and cobia added a new dimension in fisheries towards enhanced utilisation of coastal production potentials. On a need basis, five new Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) - two in Jammu and Kashmir and one each in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh - have been approved, thus raising their number to 637 in the country. To promote agricultural education in deprived areas, ICAR has moved a bill for establishing a central agricultural university in Bundelkhand region. “ICAR’s Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) became one of the first departments in the government of India to obtain International Standards Organisation (ISO) 9001:2008 certification by implementing quality management system,” Pawar informed. The meeting was also addressed by ministers of state for agriculture and food processing industries Tariq Anwar and Charan Das Mahant, and ICAR’s director general S Ayyappan.


India's 2013/14 basmati rice exports to hit record 4 million tonnes

Jan 08, 2014

Indian traders are set to export a record 4 million tonnes of basmati rice in the year to March on higher demand for the premium grade from the Middle East, bringing total sales to about 10 million for a third straight year, sources said.

More supplies from India, which toppled Thailand in 2011/12 to become the world's top rice exporter, could further hit Thai benchmark prices that shed 3.4 percent over the past week amid bulging supplies at other key suppliers Thailand and Vietnam.

While New Delhi does not allow exports of the grain from government warehouses, private traders have annually sold about 10 million tonnes a year over the past two years.

India's basmati rice exports rose 15 percent to 2.88 million tonnes between April and December, Vijay Setia, former president of All India Rice Exporters Association, told Reuters.

"A lot of deals are taking place due to a spurt in demand. Other than some parts of Iran and Afghanistan, where you can find some basmati from Pakistan, India's basmati is in huge demand," said Setia, also a leading exporter.

India and Pakistan exclusively grow long-grain, aromatic basmati in the foothills of the Himalayas. The superior variety carries a premium over non-basmati, or common grades of rice.

But a rise in demand from buyers such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia would help India push 2013/14 exports of the premium grade to a record high, said Rajen Sundareshan, executive director of the All India Rice Exporters Association.

Basmati rice exports have risen 15 percent so far this year, shrugging off a more than nearly 18 percent rise in India's export price. Last year's average rate was $100 a tonne, said officials at two New Delhi-based rice mills.

"The trend clearly suggests that buyers are willing to pay more for premium rice varieties. Basmati is the most premium rice variety, giving India an avenue to raise exports further," Setia said.

Rising income levels in the Middle East have also helped boost demand for basmati rice, traders said.

With basmati rice exports likely to touch 4 million tonnes in 2013/14, India's total rice shipments are expected at about 10 million tonnes this year, Sundareshan said.

In 2012/13, India's overall exports totalled 10.1 million tonnes, including 3.5 million tonnes of basmati.

Rice output in India, the world's No.2 producer, stood at 104.40 million tonnes in the crop year to June 2013, more than sufficient to cover demand for its 1.2 billion people.

Summer rice crop had been estimated at about 92 million tonnes this year, on par with the previous crop year.

Source: Economic Times

India's New Basmati Rice Variety May Soon Replace PUSA 1121, Say Scientists

Jan 07, 2014

New basmati rice variety, Pusa 1509, is likely to replace most of Pusa 1121, according to scientists from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI).
Pusa 1121 is grown in around 1.4 million hectares and accounts for around 75% of India’s annual basmati rice exports of around 3.5 million tons. However, Pusa 1509 is growing in popularity and may soon replace Pusa 1121 in around one million hectares.
According to IARI scientist, Pusa-1509 takes around 115-120 days to mature compared to 140-145 days by Pusa-1121. This allows farmers to sow the seeds in mid-July instead of mid-June thereby saving 5 - 6 irrigations, or to grow another short duration crop.
IARI also says that rice yield in Pusa-1509 are about 25% higher than Pusa 1121, while lower height of Pusa 1509 plants prevents lodging even during application of fertilizers. IARI has joined hands with 15 private companies to promote Pusa 1509 rice variety.
India exported around 3.46 million tons of basmati rice valued at about $3.56 billion in the FY 2012-13. India’s basmati rice export value is expected to reach about $5 billion by the end of the FY 2013-14. So far this fiscal year, India has shipped around 2.11 million tons of basmati rice valuing about $2.64 billion.


Scientists, exporters script $5-billion success story in basmati

Jan 06, 2014

Pusa-1121 and now Pusa-1509 are proof of continued vibrancy in the country’s indigenous basmati breeding programme, even as public sector farm research, in general, is seen to be floundering.

One reason for it has to do with the scientists involved in basmati varietal development working in close collaboration with farmers and the exporting community right from the start.

In 2012-13, India exported 3.46 million tonnes (mt) of basmati rice valued at $3.56 billion. During the current fiscal from April till October, 2.11 mt got shipped out fetching $2.64 billion. The latter figure could well touch $5 billion at the end of 2013-14.

Private catalyst

Anil Kumar Mittal, CMD of KRBL Ltd, estimates the share of Pusa-1121 – a variety developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) – in total basmati exports at “70 to 75 per cent”.

Pusa-1121’s commercial success, in fact, owed a lot to KRBL. The company took the initiative to undertake large-scale multiplication of the nucleus seeds supplied by its chief breeder V.P. Singh and test-market the milled rice among prospective customers in West Asia.

KRBL further created a special India Gate Classic brand for the new basmati variety that was officially released in 2003. It took another three years for other companies to also start marketing this rice in a big way.

But the above tradition of working closely with the industry goes back even earlier from the 1970s. The focus of IARI scientists, then, was on collecting traditional basmati cultivars from farmers’ fields and screening these for uniformity of plant height, maturity and grain quality.

It is through such ‘pure line selection’ that Taraori was identified as a superior traditional variety over Basmati-370, Type-3 and Dehraduni. Taraori gained prominence when United Riceland Ltd, from 1984, began exporting it under the Tilda brand.


But the major problem with the traditional cultivars for all their unique basmati grain attributes – aroma, non-stickiness and elongation upon cooking – was very low paddy yields of around 10 quintals an acre.

“It was because the plants were tall, about 160 cm, and prone to lodging. So, you couldn’t apply fertilisers either,” said Ashok K. Singh, who now heads IARI’s basmati breeding programme.

The real breakthrough came with the release of Pusa Basmati-1 in 1989.

This was an evolved basmati derived from crossing Taraori with Pusa-150, a high-yielding non-basmati line. The aim here was to combine the distinct grain quality traits of traditional basmati with the high-yielding background of modern dwarf varieties.

Pusa Basmati-1 was only 110 cm in height, yielded 25 quintals/acre, and matured in 140 days compared with 160 days for traditional varieties.

Although the new variety had a milder aroma, its rice grains elongated to roughly 16 mm and recorded four times volume expansion on cooking, as against 14 mm and 3.5 times for Taraori.

By 2000-01, India’s basmati exports averaged 0.6-0.7 mt and worth about $450 million – 60 per cent of it from Pusa Basmati-1.

1121 revolution

The big bang, however, happened with Pusa-1121. It had lower yields (20 quintals) and more plant height (120 cm) than Pusa Basmati-1.

But where it scored was grain elongation – 22 mm on cooking – and volume expansion: A cup of milled rice gave nearly five cups of cooked rice.

“Pusa-1121 was a hit, especially in Iran. The fact you could fill up whole plates with fewer grains was enough to trigger huge demand,” noted Mittal. Pusa-1121 today accounts for 78 per cent of India’s total basmati acreage of 1.8 million hectares. The downside: its growing susceptibility to bacterial blight, blast and brown plant hopper attacks.

“We are hoping to address these through Pusa-1509, which also has other advantages such as lower cropping duration, reduced lodging and higher yields. The grain quality is also quite comparable with that of Pusa-1121,” claimed Singh.

IARI has already tied up with some 15 companies – including Kaveri Seeds, Bioseed, Metahelix and KRBL – for multiplication of breeder and foundation seeds of Pusa-1509 under a public-private-partnership programme. “Our objective is to ensure farmers get maximum supplies ahead of the ensuing kharif planting season,” Singh added.


Rice basmati strengthens on increased demand

Dec 31, 2013

Rice basmati prices firmed up to Rs 100 per quintal in an otherwise steady wholesale grains market on Saturday on increased demand against restricted supplies from producing belts. However, other grains held steady in limited deals.

Traders said besides increased demand, restricted arrivals from producing regions mainly led to rise in rice basmati prices.

In the national capital, rice basmati common and Pusa-1121 variety rose by Rs 100 and Rs 50 to Rs 8,700-8,900 and Rs 8,000-8,500 per quintal respectively.

The following were today’s quotations per quintal: Wheat MP (deshi) 2,070-2,270, Wheat dara (for mills) 1,670-1,675, Chakki atta (delivery) 1,675-1,680 Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) 220, Shakti bhog (10 kg) 220, Roller flour mill 920-930 (50 kg), Maida 970-990 (50 kg) and Sooji 1,010-1,030 (50kg).

Basmati rice (Lal Quila) 10,400, Shri Lal Mahal 10,000, Super Basmati Rice, 9,500, Basmati common new 8,700-8,900, Rice Pusa-(1121) new 8,000-8,500, Permal raw 2,100-2,200, Permal wand 2,275-2,300, Sela 2,950-2,975 and Rice IR-8-1,875-1,900, Bajra 1,300-1,305, Jowar yellow 1,400-1,450, white 2,300-2,500, Maize 1,405-1,410, Barley 1,400-1,410, Rajasthan 1,080-1,090.


New short-duration variety of Basmati aids farmers in Punjab

Dec 24, 2013

A new short-duration variety of Basmati rice, transplanted for the first time in Punjab this kharif season, has enabled farmers to shift a chunk of area under common variety of paddy cultivation to exports-intensive Basmati rice.

The new variety, PUSA 1509 developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), takes 110 to 120 days to mature, against the widely grown PUSA 1121 which takes 140 days to get ready for harvest. "The new variety needed to be transplanted in the last week of July, when the monsoon usually arrives in Punjab, thus reducing dependence on groundwater," KV Prabhu, deputy director of IARI, told FE.

Prabhu said the new variety has given yields in the range of 4.2 to 6.5 tonne per hectare in large scale demonstrations conducted in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, while the 1121 variety usually gives around 5 or 5.5 tonne per hectare.

He said savings in water for growing new variety could be used for rabi wheat. PUSA 1509 combines semi-dwarf stature, early maturing and better gra-ins, cooking and eating quality on a par with 1121 variety.

In the ongoing kharif season, the new Basmati rice variety was released for Punjab on the recommendation of the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, following the agriculture ministry notifying the 1509 variety for commercial release.

“Owing to early maturity, cultivation of 1509 variety can save up to five-six irrigations, which implies 33% savings of irrigation water. As transplanting is carried out in the last week of July, a lot of groundwater is saved as the monsoon rains would have arrived,” Prabhu, who led a group of scientists in IARI to develop the new variety, said.

Since the introduction of 1121 variety, also developed by IARI in 2006, the country's Basmati rice exports have risen sharply. Exports of the aromatic long-grained rice rose from R2,792 crore in 2006-07 to R19,409 crore in the last fiscal.

Of the total 3.4 million tonne of Basmati rice exports, the PUSA 1121 has more than 70% share. “It's unfair for the farmers not to grow new Basmati variety till they get another alternate crop,” an official with the Punjab agriculture department said.

In Punjab and Haryana, groundwater has depleted to alarming levels because of excessive usage in growing paddy and wheat. This has forced the two states to ban usage of groundwater in the summer month of June for rice sowing, so that the monsoon rains can be used in July. Besides that, Punjab, which grows common paddy variety in 2.9 million hectare, is planning to shift at least a million hectare to alternate crops in the next five years.


Basmati to stay on Iran’s plate

Dec 20, 2013

Immediately after the US/EU-Iran interim agreement was signed on November 24, there were widespread concerns that India’s basmati exports to the Islamic republic will take a hit. Since the 2011 sanctions, Iran has been increasingly depending on Indian exports of the cereal. Now, with the prospects of the West relaxing sanctions, Indian exporters fear the country might not buy as much as it did earlier.

Shortly after the pact was signed, the “export sentiment” for the 1121 Basmati variety to Iran turned bearish. Many felt Iran may divert business to Pakistan and Thailand. But that might be a knee-jerk presumptive reaction. The fact is the prospect of increased basmati rice export to Iran and more exports of non-basmati rice to Nigeria and Bangladesh may further strengthen India’s exports of this cereal in 2013-14.

Trade with Iran

Also, rupee depreciation has provided India with a cutting edge. The country’s number one rank in global rice shipments is likely to be maintained — about 10-11 million tonnes (mt), or approximately 30 per cent share in the global trade of 35 mt.

India is uniquely placed to utilise Rs 50,000 crore (or $8 billion) held in UCO Bank on Iran’s account. Pakistan and Thailand lack such a facility. The U S sanctions on Iran’s oil exports remain intact, neither have curbs on banking been relaxed. The lifting of all restrictions would depend upon the signing of a comprehensive agreement.

Meanwhile, the Shia-Sunni rift in the Muslim world can rock the interim agreement. Pakistan is closely aligned with Sunni Saudi Arabia, which has opposed this rapprochement. Any accommodation by Iran of Pakistan would mean implicit support to Saudi’s ally, which is highly unlikely.

Moreover, India’s global basmati exports are 3-3.5 mt per annum. Iran’s annual import requirement of basmati rice is 1.7-2 mt , while India’s supplies to the country have increased from 0.5 mt to 1.1 mt in the past the four years, with better price realisation.

In 2013-14, India’s share could be about 80 per cent of Iran’s import of rice — about 1.4-1.5 mt. This reliance cannot be dismantled overnight. On the contrary, dependence on Indian cereal can increase — especially with the new hybridised paddy 1509 with better yield and lower costs. In 2012-13, Pakistan’s total basmati rice export to 96 countries was 0.63 mt, according to Rice Exporters’ Association of Pakistan. The country supplied only 43,000 tonnes to Iran. Its monthly shipments are around 3,600 tonnes, against the Indian average of approximately 1,00,000 tonnes.

In the absence of a smooth banking arrangement with Pakistan, ideological differences, lack of research capacity, quality issues and persistent power shortages, Pakistani rice cannot match the Indian 1121 variety.

Thailand has been a supplier of superior quality non-basmati rice (NBR) to Iran. Its Hom Mali (fragrant rice) export virtually stopped after 1121 was introduced.

The grain length and elongation characteristics of 1121 are not tested by Hom Mali, which costs about $1,100/tonne. Iran and Indian shippers use certain blends of Indian basmati and long grain NBR to lower fob values.

With Nigeria

On July 25, 2013, Iran sourced 2,50,000 tonnes of NBR (white rice) at $520/tonne fob, and not the fragrant variety. Any small revival of Hom Mali cannot replace the preference for 1121.

In November, Nigeria slashed “effective” import duty on non-basmati rice from 144 per cent to about 44 per cent for the arrival of vessels in December 2013-January 2014. Export tax arbitrage with neighbouring Benin has ceased. The new duty regime is for two months, but what happens later is anyone’s guess.

Nigeria imports 2.5-3 million tonnes NBR-parboiled (PB) annually, mostly from India, Thailand, and Brazil. Direct Nigerian imports from India are about 0.8 mt in 2012-13.

In addition, Nigeria’s neighbour Benin has been used as a base-country for import via Cotonou of about 0.5 mt of Indian rice to Nigeria. Thus India accounts for about 50 per cent (1.3 million tonnes) of Nigeria’s rice imports that may rise to 70-75 per cent in 2013-14.

Indian par-boiled rice costs $400/tonne fob as against $470/tonne in the case of Thailand. Prominent Nigerians buyers are keen to secure Indian arrivals at least till Nigeria retains its low duty regime. Indian shippers are in a hurry to despatch their parboiled rice and even diverting their cargos on high seas from Cotonou to Lagos.

About a quarter million tonnes is contracted additionally by prime Nigerian importers in end November-early December 2013 with Indian shippers.

Bangladesh’s needs

The Government of Bangladesh (GOB) needs import of 0.5 mt of rice immediately of 15 per cent par boiled variety. India is commercially and strategically well placed to meet this demand. But the India and Bangladesh governments are not able to conclude a G-to-G deal. Reasons: FCI stocks need upgradation and repackaging, special pricing and several other issues.

Past dealings of PSUs with private players on a back-to-back basis have been controversial due to procedural reasons.

Indian open market prices are the lowest on delivered basis to Bangladesh. The Bangladesh government has no alternative but to import from private Indian suppliers, where Indian bidders compete on best market price (and not FCI).

Thailand does not have significant availability of 15 per cent broken parboiled rice. Pakistan may not be successful in quoting competitive tenders while competing with India.

All Bangladesh has to do is to follow internationally accepted practices, rather than customised tendering conditions prone to defaults and rent seeking.

Indian Policy

Since 2011, the Indian government has kept rice trade/export free from any conditions and encumbrances. That is why India has secured number one rank in world trade. Stocks of FCI remain untouched. Private market availability and dollar/rupee exchange rates have been helpful. Research in new rice varieties has added impetus.

More flexibility in Iran’s rupee account will be supportive of rice and non-rice trade. Removal of recent stock limits on rice for export will also improve the sentiment.


New Pusa variety to boost Basmati rice exports

Dec 05, 2013

With the commercialisation of the new Pusa Basmati 1509 variety, exports of basmati rice from India are set to exceed four million tonnes (mt) this year, 11 per cent more than last year.

Developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute last year, Pusa Basmati 1509 was commercialised in the kharif sowing season this year. With an estimated output of 30,000 tonnes, the new variety offers a yield of 6.5 tonnes a hectare, against the popular Pusa 1121 variety’s yield of 4.5 tonnes a hectare.

“India can achieve total basmati exports of about four mt this year, against 3.5 mt in the previous year, owing to robust demand from importing regions, including the West Asia, the UK, and the US,” said M P Jindal, president of All India Rice Exporters’ Association.

At Rs 16,523.87 crore, guar gum led the list of Indian agri exports in 2011-12, against Rs 15,449.6 crore for basmati rice. The trend continued in 2012-13—guar gum exports stood at Rs 21,287.01 crore, against Rs 19,419.39 crore for basmati rice. This year, however, basmati rice is set to regain the top slot on the agri exports list, owing to a spurt in realisation and a sharp decline in guar gum prices. While guar gum prices have fallen 85 per cent to about Rs 15,000 a quintal from Rs 1,00,000 a quintal two years ago, export realisation from basmati rice soared about 50 per cent to Rs 73,150 a quintal from Rs 48,610 a quintal during the same period.

Gurnam Arora, joint managing director of Kohinoor Foods, the producer of Kohinoor brand basmati rice, said, “Basmati rice farmers’ incomes have increased 30-50 per cent this year due to robust global and domestic demand. Globally, demand has outpaced supplies, leading to firm prices. Surprisingly, consumers have accepted the price spurt and, therefore, more price rises cannot be ruled out.”

A CARE Ratings study showed India's basmati rice exports grew at a compounded annual rate of 22 per cent during the four years ended 2011-12, driven by an increase in demand from the key importing countries of Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iraq and Kuwait. The study forecast a stable outlook for rice exporters this year on expectations of a good harvest in the 2013-14 crop year.

Also, the demand outlook for the industry remains healthy, with increasing domestic consumption and export demand of basmati rice, given India’s dominant position in the global basmati rice segment. Jindal said this year, the procurement cost of basmati rice had risen to Rs 59 a kg from Rs 38 a kg last year.

Therefore, farmers were the biggest beneficiaries of the price rise, he added.


Experts suggest favourable conditions for basmati prices this season

Nov 07, 2013

The Agricultural Market Intelligence Centre (AMIC) of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has predicted a favourable scenario for basmati prices this season.

AMIC incharge Jagrup S Sidhu said the Centre had been continuously monitoring the demand, supply and prices scenario of basmati and expects better prices for basmati growers during 2013-14.

He advised the farmers to avoid glut in the market by regulating the arrival to fetch maximum prices. The produce should be cleaned and dried up to the required level to add further value, he added.

Sidhu observed that the export demand for Indian basmati rice was escalating quickly due to the widening of international market and devaluation of Indian rupee. Besides, the traditional main importers of basmati rice such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait; and new importers such as Iraq, Russia and China had shown interest for the India's finest rice, he further said.

“Consequently, the export of basmati rice from India increased from 23 lakh tonnes during 2010-11 valued at Rs. 11,354 crore to 31 lakh tonnes with the value of Rs. 15,450 crore during 2011-12. It touched to about 35 lakh tonnes during 2012-13 with total realisation of Rs. 19,391 crore,” the incharge said.

The average international prices of basmati rice also remained favourable around US$1,000 per tonne during 2012-13 and were currently ruling between US$1,050-1,400 per tonne. Consequentially, the domestic prices of basmati paddy also remained high in the range of Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 3,500 per quintal during 2012-13 and currently ruling above Rs. 3,000 per quintal.

Sidhu further said that the area in major basmati growing states was expected to enhance by 20%, from 15 lakh hectares to 18 lakh hectares, and production was expected to increase from about 40 lakh tonnes to about 45 lakh tonnes.

The area under basmati rice in Punjab increased by about one lakh hectare from 4.58 lakh hectares to 5.50 lakh hectares due to promotion of basmati under state diversification plan, he said.

The production of basmati rice was expected to increase from 12 lakh tonnes to 14 lakh tonnes, he said, adding that, similar trends were also expected from other main basmati growing states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, etc.


India Basmati Rice Exports Likely to Increase 11% to 4 Million Tons in FY 2013-14

Oct 31, 2013

India’s basmati rice exports are likely to grow to around 4 million tons in the fiscal year 2013-14 (April – March), up around 11% from around 3.6 million tons exported in FY 2012-13, according to local sources.

Traders in India say that better returns and government’s crop diversification program have helped boost basmati rice production in Punjab and Haryana, two main basmati rice producing states in India. India produced around 7.1 million tons of basmati rice in 2012-13, and some trade sources say that production is likely to increase by around 30% to around 9 million tons in 2013-14.

However, basmati purchase prices are high this year due to high demand in the international market in the Middle East helped by a weak Indian currency. Traders say that they are already paying around Rs. 3,200 per quintal (about $523 per ton, using current exchange rates) of basmati paddy rice, up about 50% from last year’s Rs. 2,200 per quintal (about $410 per ton, using historical exchange rates). Prices are likely to increase in the coming weeks, say trade sources.


GCC: Opportunities abound for exporters

Oct 15, 2013

India's trade with the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries - which include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates - has increased by 75.91 percent from US$ 107360.14 million in 2009-10 to US$ 188867.66 million in 2011-12. Total trade of India has grown at the rate of around 28 percent during the year 2011-12, while the total trade in the above mentioned countries has grown at the rate of nearly 28.99 percent, and it is expected that India's trade in this region would go up to US $200 billion in 2012-13 which is nearly double of India's trade with this region in 2009-10.

The above statistics are satisfactory, but I think India-GCC trade alliance is still at a nascent stage and this needs to be improved, considering the fact that the GCC region carries abundant opportunities for Indian exporters. Currently, only a few items, including gems and jewellery, machinery and instruments, crude petroleum products, manufactures of metals, electronic goods, transport equipment, Basmati rice, RMG cotton, including accessories, primary and semi finished iron and steel, man-made yarn, fabrics & made-ups, comprise the major portion of our export basket. I think there is a great scope to expand this trade basket to new products.

Since the last decade, imports by GCC countries from the growing economies of Asia have witnessed a robust growth. According to a statistic, some 20 years ago the block imported around 85 percent of their goods from US, Europe and Japan, and the remaining 15 percent from the growing Asian economies, but today these nations' imports from Asia exceed 35 percent of their total imports. In the last decade, GCC imports from Asia rose by 15 percent while imports from the group of three dropped by 12 percent. But unfortunately, India has failed to garner much from this changing trend.

Here, the United Arab Emirates deserves a special mention. Although the UAE is currently one of the top trading partners of India, I think the opportunities we have explored there constitute only a tip of the iceberg. The region acts as a gateway to both the Arab and some African markets, and its vibrant re-export activities, large population, and rapid growth and development, first driven by its profits from oil production, and more recently due to growth of other industrial sectors, such as tourism offer huge opportunities, which can help us multiply our exports to the country and also increase our presence in the other middle eastern regions and parts of Africa.

I think a comprehensive trade agreement could catapult trade between the two sides. The Trade and Economic Relations Committee had given this suggestion in 2005, after which two rounds of negotiations were held in 2006 and 2008, but unfortunately since then the negotiations have been at a standstill. Recently, it has been reported that GCC is reviewing its negotiations with all countries and economic groups and that a study has been commissioned by them to examine the issue of negotiations with India and China. I hope we will soon see some positive developments in this direction.


Higher gains on basmati have exporters hoping for potboiler

Oct 08, 2013

The unsteady movements of  the dollar has brought anxious moments for exporters at large  but basmati rice exporters from India are envisaging better recoveries this year.

“India recorded a 54 per cent increase in the realisations from basmati exports from April to August. We may register a 10 to 15 per cent increase in exports, with higher realisations of up to 25-30 per cent over last year,” a senior at the Agriculture and Processed Food Exports Development Authority (Apeda) told Business Standard.

“Due to structural problems in Thailand, the overall exports scenario of rice has changed and it has benefited exporters the world over. As the price of food items are going up in the domestic and international market, the price of basmati rice is also rising. This is coupled with the growing acceptability of Indian basmati around the world. We are expecting a quantum jump in the realisations from exports,” he said.

India’s position in basmati exports might consolidate further because the field trials of a new variety, PUSA 1509, have been quite successful and the new crop could be notified very soon. It is a short duration crop with all qualities of PUSA 1121 and might replace PUSA 1121 in the next few years. This is likely to enhance export volume in the coming years, the official added.

Satman Arora, joint managing director of Satman Overseas Ltd (Kohinoor Rice), says all parameters of exports are perfectly placed this year. “The crop is better, the exports demand is higher and the prices are more remunerative. So, we are expecting a 10-15 per cent jump in our exports.”

Vijay Setia, managing director of Chaman Lal Setia Exports Ltd (Maharani Basmati), says the carry-forward stock with exporters is minimal. The rice mills in the past few years have added significant capacities so they are capable to milling higher volumes of paddy. The Indian fine variety rice is getting higher penetration and recognition in West Asia very rapidly so all these factors are likely to contribute to higher sales in the overseas market.

While exporters are making a fast buck, the farmers are also sanguine of getting higher returns. The new short duration variety, PUSA 1509, consumes less water and gives high yield.

Farmers are getting   Rs 3,300 to Rs 3,400 per quintal of paddy this year as compared to Rs 2,200 to Rs 3,300 per quintal in the last season.

Kartar Singh of Sagrur says the mathematics for new basmati fits swell in the current scenario of high input costs as it takes less time.

The Apeda official also confirmed up to five per cent increase in acreage under basmati in Punjab and probability of increase in basmati acreage in the next year due to lucrative returns to the farmers.


Punjab waives taxes for Basmati procurement

Oct 03, 2013

In a bid to promote the food processing industry, the Punjab government has abolished all levies imposed on the procurement of Basmati rice from the kharif marketing season (2013-14), which commenced from October 1.

However, the Basmati paddy procured in Punjab would have to be processed in the state for availing the sop.

Punjab food minister Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon told FE that the rationale behind providing tax incentives was to encourage farmers to shift a chunk of the area under common variety paddy to less water-intensive Basmati, which fetches a better price in global as well as domestic markets.

“We want to promote the food processing industry in Punjab, and farmers are expected to get better price realisation for their produce through abolition of levies,” Kairon said.

The Punjab government puts a levy as high as 14.5% on the procurement of paddy, which includes rural development and infrastructure development cess (5%), VAT or sales tax (5%), mandi fee (2%) and Arthiya’s commission (2.5%). From October 1, procurement of Basmati from farmers by traders would not attract any tax, provided the paddy is processed in the state.

“It’s a step in the right direction. The government should follow up with similar steps for other crops — especially maize and wheat — to boost value addition in the state,” Ashok Gulati, chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), said.

With rapid depletion of groundwater because of intensive agricultural practices through cultivation of rice and wheat, the government is focusing on shifting at least one million hectares of paddy to an alternative crop during the next few years.

“Besides, the new short-duration Pusa Basmati 1509 variety provides an opportunity for us as it takes 120-125 days to mature as against 145-155 days taken by Pusa 1121, which has more than 70% share in India's Basmati export market,” an agriculture scientist from Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) said.

Meanwhile, an official with All India Rice Exporters’ Association (AIREA) said Basmati exporters from Haryana would start sourcing paddy from Punjab because of abolition of levies and may shift processing units to the state if the Haryana government did not take similar steps. Haryana imposes 11.5% tax on the paddy procured from the farmers in the state.

Basmati exporters from Punjab have earlier urged the state against imposing levies by stating that the high rate of taxes on paddy had left them uncompetitive and had a negative impact on rice export.

Punjab contributes about 45% towards the country's annual production of long-grained aromatic Basmati rice, which is estimated at around 4.5 million tonne.

India exported more than 3 million tonne of Basmati during 2012-13, which is valued at more than R17,000 crore. “With abolition of levies in Punjab, Basmati export from India is expected to rise significantly this year,” a rice exporter said. In 2011-12, the country shipped aromatic and long-grained rice worth R15,450 crore.

Source: The Financial Express

Basmati farmers set to reap rich harvest Prices witness a rise of more than 30 per cent; farmers expect another hike

Sep 18, 2013

The farmers who have cultivated basmati variety of paddy are in for a good time as there is more than 30 per cent increase in its prices as compared to previous year.

In Fazilka, a majority of the farmers cultivate paddy. Official sources said the farmers had cultivated paddy over 90,000 hectares of land in the district.

Om Parkash, a farmer from Mauzam village, who was the first to bring 120 quintals of fine basmati variety of paddy to the market, sold it for Rs 2,951 per quintal. Market committee sources said the basmati paddy had fetched Rs 2,241 per quintal last year. "It is profitable to sell the produce anywhere around Rs 3,000 per quintal. Farmers are hoping to get even more than Rs 3,000 per quintal in the days to come," said Om Parkash. The arrival is likely to pick up in two to three weeks.

The entire local basmati produce is exported. "The main reason for higher prices is a significant increase in the demand for fine rice variety in the middle-east," said Dina Nath Sachdeva, Pakka Aarhtiya Association president.

Besides basmati, coarse parmal variety has also witnessed a rise in the prices. It is being also sold at Rs 1,400 per quintal as compared to Rs 1,300 per quintal last year.

"The government should interfere to maintain the prices of the basmati variety as it is being controlled by private traders and exporters who are the bulk purchasers. They exploit the farmers by entering into a pool and fix relatively lower prices," said Parduman Kumar, president, Bhartiya Kisan Union, Fazilka unit.

Source: Tribune India

Ban on basmati rice imports from India lifted by Russia, informs APEDA

Sep 12, 2013

In a notice, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) informed that Russia has agreed to lift a ban on the import of basmati rice from India. It was imposed for the non-compliance with the former's phyto-sanitary requirements.

This followed a visit to India by a high-level delegation representing Russia's foreign ministry earlier this year, and hectic negotiations, which included India's promise to comply with the country's food safety regulations. The Russian government recently issued a notification in this regard.

It was pointed out in the notice that during the Russian delegation's visit, the Indian side guaranteed compliance. It added that this resulted into their agreement to allow the import of basmati rice, cereals and peanuts from India with effect from September 1, 2013.


India to ask Mauritius to expedite basmati rice inspection system

Jul 04, 2013

To continue smooth exports of Basmati rice to Mauritius, India is for an early decision on putting in place the proposed export inspection and certification system for the same.

Last April, Mauritius had conveyed to the Government that the Basmati rice imported from India and Pakistan was being adulterated by local traders.

To regulate the import and sale of Basmati rice, Mauritian authorities sought a certificate of authenticity (CoA) to be issued by the Indian authorities for exports. Quick to respond, India nominated the Export Inspection Council as the nodal agency which will issue a certificate of authenticity (CoA) for all Basmati rice exports from India to Mauritius.

India has already shared a draft of the proposed agreement with Mauritius for recognition of Export Inspection and Certification System for export of Basmati rice.

Sources said that now India was looking for an early conclusion of the agreement.

The issue is likely to be raised by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma when he meets his counterpart Sayyad Abd-Al-Cader Sayed Hossen, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection, in Mauritius at the the First Trade Ministerial Level Economic and Business Conference of Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR-ARC) nations in Port Louis starting July 4.

India exported cereals worth $37.9 million to Mauritius in 2012-13 which was 25 per cent higher than the previous year. Basmati rice is a unique GI product under the WTO and standards in India are dynamic in nature. Efforts are being made to harmonise the standards, an official said.

The Government of Mauritius also proposed an MoU, on the lines signed with the EU in this regard.

Mauritius had also asked for DNA testing of Basmati rice (prior to shipment), but India requested that exports may be permitted on the strength of the Export Inspection Council’s CoA.


Iraq keen on sourcing basmati from India

Jul 03, 2013

After Iran emerging as India's biggest export destination for basmati, Iraq has also shown interest in increasing the quantum of aromatic long-grain rice import from the country.

This could result in a jump in aromatic rice exports in the next two years.

Official sources told FE when external affairs minister Salman Khurshid met Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari in Baghdad recently, both leaders discussed ways to strengthen economic engagement, which included trade in basmati.

According to officials in the ministry of external affairs, Iraq is keen on procuring more rice from India and this is expected to be discussed at length at the 17th Joint Commission Meeting scheduled to be held on July 8-9 in Baghdad.

According to All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) data, India's Basmati rice exports to Iran was in excess of 1 million tonne during 2012-13, while shipment to Iraq was only about two lakh tonne. “There is a huge scope of increasing rice exports to Iraq as consumers their have preferred rice imported from India,” Vijay Setia, former president, AIREA told FE.

Setia said exports to Iran constitute more than 40% of the total country's basmati rice exports. If Iraq starts sourcing more basmati from India, it could push the country's rice exports further.

An industry source said with more than 10% rise in exports to Iran anticipated in the current fiscal, the cumulative basmati rice exports from the country is likely to touch 3.4 million tonne (mt) during current fiscal from close to 3 mt of shipment during 2012-13.


an exports of about 2 lakh tonne in 2008-9, the shipment to Iran crossed the million-tonne mark last fiscal and exporters are banking on repeating the same for Iraq as well. “Iranian consumers have been favouring Indian basmati over any other rice. Iran annually imports about 3 mt of rice from India and this includes non-basmati rice shipment also,” a commerce ministry official noted. Besides Iran, other key destinations for basmati rice during last last few years are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq.

“We are expected to get around Rs 17,000 crore from basmati rice exports in the last fiscal,” a commerce ministry official said. In 2011-12, the country shipped aromatic and long-grained rice worth Rs 15,450 crore. India emerged as the world’s largest exporter of rice (both basmati and non-basmati) during 2011-12 and 2012-13, with close to 10 mt of rice exports. Thailand exported 6.9 mt of rice, falling behind India and Vietnam, which sold 7.8 mt in 2011-12.



Area under basmati may witness record increase

Jun 28, 2013

The Punjab government's crop diversification plan, aimed at weaning away farmers from the traditional crop pattern of paddy and wheat, is witnessing the emergence of basmati as the first choice to replace paddy.
As per information available with the Punjab Agricultural University

(PAU) here and the state agriculture department, basmati cultivation is set to get an unprecedented jump with an increase of around 1 lakh hectares of farm area under this crop.

As per an estimate, basmati sowing, which started this week in the state, will be between 5.5 and 6 lakh hectares this year. In the previous kharif season, it was 4-4.5 lakh hectares.

"The enthusiasm for basmati is tremendous this year. We expect the area to touch 6 lakh hectares. The main reason behind this estimated increase is the state government's tax benefits," said Gurdyal Singh, joint director, state agriculture department.

Fulfilling the demand of basmati buyers, the state government has announced to waive 3% infrastructure development cess on basmati exports.

Various PAU centres across the state are seeing a rush for the seed of newly-introduced basmati varieties such as PUSA-1509 and Punjab Basmati 3.

"Apart from the generally sown seed, as per our feedback till now, 100 quintals of seed of each new variety have been procured by farmers at various farmer fairs organised by PAU in the past two months. This shows that farmers are ready to shift to basmati from paddy," said Dr Mukhtar Singh Gill, director, extension education, PAU.

This new variety gives more yield, need less water and matures earlier. The height of the basmati plant of PUSA-1509 is only 105 cm as compared to around 180 cm of PUSA-1121.

Gill said the shift from paddy had given a strong start to the state's crop diversification plan.
Keen to shift 12 lakh hectares from water-guzzling paddy to other crops, the state government has finalised a Rs. 7,500-crore action plan and submitted it to the union agriculture ministry for approval. Presently, 28 lakh hectares are under paddy cultivation in Punjab. The state government wants to bring it down to 16 lakh hectares over the next five years.

The action plan includes increasing the area under cotton and basmati cultivation by 2 lakh hectares each. Both crops consume less water as compared to traditional paddy. Besides, the area under maize has been proposed to be increased by 4 lakh hectares; sugarcane, 1.70 lakh hectares; pulses, 0.70 lakh hectares; fruits and vegetables, 0.85 lakh hectares; agro forestry, 1.45 lakh hectares; and green fodder, 0.50 lakh hectares.


Basmati rice might top list of agricultural exports

Jun 27, 2013

After two years, could again emerge as India's top agricultural export commodity. During the last two financial years, guar gum had topped the list, in terms of value, primarily due to the boom in the US.

The commerce ministry expects Russia would lift a ban on Indian Basmati imports soon. The move is expected to further increase exports, said a source at the Agriculture & Processed Food Products Development Authority (). Currently, a Russian delegation is inspecting rice mills in India. The delegation would provide a report on lifting the ban, said the Apeda source.

Russia, earlier a net importer of Indian Basmati, had imposed a ban on these imports in February, owing to the detection of copra beetle infestation.

In April and May, Basmati exports rose about 25 per cent in volume terms and about 65 per cent in terms of rupee value (46 per cent in dollar terms), against the year-ago period, show data from the All India Rice Exporters Association. In April, the value of Basmati exports stood at Rs 2,378 crore (about $400 million), a rise of about 90 per cent (in rupee terms) compared to the corresponding period last year. In dollar terms, the export value rose 67 per cent. In May, Basmati exports stood at Rs 2,250 crore (about $375 million), a 44 per cent rise against May 2012, in rupee terms. In dollar terms, exports rose about 30 per cent in May.

High demand from Iran, after the settlement of the payment mechanism with India following US sanctions, and a sharp depreciation in the rupee led to the rise in export realisations, exporters said. "Basmati exports are strong. Iran has started buying from India, which led to higher exports. Also, a Russian delegation is in India checking the safety standards on pesticide and copra beetle. India is hopeful the ban would be lifted soon," said an Apeda official.

"Going by the trend this year, we expect Basmati to be India's top export item," said R Sundaresan, executive director, All India Rice Exporters Association. In 2012-13, India exported gaur gum worth Rs 21,287 crore, while basmati rice exports stood at Rs 19,390 crore.

Guar gum exports fall
In the first two months of the last financial year, India's guar gum exports stood at Rs 10,856 crore. In the corresponding period this year, exports almost halved, traders said. "Currently, guar processing units are running at 25-50 per cent of the installed capacity, which clearly shows demand is low compared to last year," said Jinesh Dugar, a guar trader based in Rajashtan.

However, gum exporters are hopeful of regaining lost ground. "Demand should pick up in the coming months. The rupee's depreciation should add to sales realisation by not more than Rs 500 crore," said B D Agarwal, managing director, Vikas WSP, India's largest processor of gaur gum, and an exporter. Cheaper substitutes and high carry-over stocks of the commodity by US energy companies had led to a decline in the demand for guar gum in international markets. About 40 per cent of global guar gum demand is accounted for by sectors such as textiles, food and chemicals. In 2012-13, India exported 4,08,574 tonnes of gaur gum, worth Rs 21,287 crore.


Agri policy takes root: Area under basmati increases, paddy decreases

Jun 17, 2013

The area under basmati in Amritsar this year will cross 1 lakh hectares, an increase of 13,500 hectares over last year, while the area under paddy will fall from 97,000 hectares to 81,000 hectares. Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur are major basmati growing areas not only in Punjab, but also in

the country.

Under the new agriculture policy prepared by the Punjab Farmers Commission, the area under paddy is proposed to be cut down by about 12 lakh hectares in the state. This proposal was mooted taking into consideration falling groundwater table, with paddy being targeted as it requires a huge quantity of water, which is met, mostly from tubewells.

The two varieties which are expected to occupy almost 80 percent of the area under basmati, not only in Amritsar district but also in the entire state, are Pusa – 1121 and Pusa – 1509. The traditional aromatic varieties like Punjab Basmati 1, Punjab Basmati 2 and Basmati 386 are also expected to occupy some of the area as these are in great demand by rice millers for export. PUSA-1509 is being introduced for the first time in the country.

PUSA 1509, is long grained like 1121, the earlier popular variety, but it will give a higher yield, which will touch 23-24 quintals per acre. In such a scenario the farmers are expected to go in for the new variety.

Being a short duration variety, PUSA-1509 will mature early and require less water. It will require at least six irrigations less than the 1121.

All India Rice Exporters Association and the union ministries concerned have also approved PUSA 1509 and the necessary notification on according it the basmati status has been issued, so that farmers have no doubt in their minds about the status of this variety.

Maize cultivation

To promote and popularise maize cultivation, the state agriculture department has tied-up with the muli-national company Monsanto India Ltd. As part of the tie-up, the company has supplied a fixed amount of hybrid maize seed free to identified farmers and is also providing details about sowing and upkeep of the crop.

A total of 1,000 acres in the state will covered under the Monsanto --- agriculture department tie-up programme. The Punjab Farmers Commission in its new agriculture policy report to the government had laid stress on maize, soya bean and pulses for diversification and as a replacement for paddy.

Amritsar chief agriculture officer Dilbagh Singh Dhanju said that Monsanto had supplied maize seed free of cost to 50 farmers, some of whom did sow the crop.

Each grower received 8-9 kg of seed for the demonstration plot of one acre.

The expected yield should be between 24 quintals to 28 quintals per acre. Maize is a crop that needs far less water as compared to paddy. While maize requires around 6 irrigations, paddy requires around 25-30 irrigations.

"Besides the 50-acre through the Monsanto tie-up, we are targeting an area of 1,000 hectares to be brought under maize. It was just a couple of acres last year," said Dhanju.


Punjab to bring 5 lakh hectares under basmati

Jun 11, 2013

To give boost to agriculture diversification, the Punjab government has decided to bring five lakh hectares of additional area under basmati cultivation over a period of three years. Announcing this here on Monday, agriculture commissioner Balwinder Singh Sidhu said that under the

ambitious programme of crop diversification, due emphasis had been laid to double the cultivable area from five lakh hectares to 10 lakh hectares under basmati during the next three years besides focusing on cash crops of oilseeds, pulses, maize, sugarcane, fruits and vegetables.

He said the idea behind promoting less-water-intensive basmati was to prevent further depletion of the groundwater, which had alarmingly gone down due to excessive sowing of paddy.

He highlighted a slew of incentives recently announced by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for promotion of basmati export from the state to various countries.

Seeking support from the farmers for achieving the target of five lakh hectares under the basmati cultivation, Sidhu said it would not only help the state to promote basmati as an alternative crop to paddy for giving impetus to the push towards the second green revolution in terms of agriculture diversification but also ensure remunerative returns to the farmers.


The case for blended basmati

Jun 07, 2013

Export of pure/desi basmati (prince of aromatic rice) Indian rice is well accepted in EU, US, Saudi Arabia, and West Asia. In addition, there is a growing export business of hybrid basmati -- blending cheaper variants with or without the knowledge of the buyer.

The buyer benefits from lower prices, while the seller reaps in higher profits. The trend, under wraps, was prevalent even in the past -- but now it is more or less an established practice due to Iranian and other buyers willing to accept blended basmati, contractually or by informal consent.

Average annual export of basmati in 1990-00 was less than 1 million tonnes (mt) ($1billion or less); and this has progressively increased to about 3 mt ($3billion) in 2012-13 with hybrid varieties and blending strategies.

Indian rules permit 20 per cent of mixture of other rice grains for “basmati” quality certification; Thai Hom Mali (fragrant or Jasmine) provides for 8 per cent of other rice grains. Pakistan generally follows the Indian practice.


The simple form of blend could be a combination of traditional basmati (Dehradooni or Tararoi/Karnal), which is about $1,700/tonne fob and Pusa basmati rice (evolved varieties) at around $1,480/tonne fob. Pusa derivatives are developed by IARI ( Indian Agriculture Research Institute, called “Pusa Institute” at New Delhi) with special strains for high yield, low water consumption and shorter duration, but may lack the aroma of the original gene.

Pusa’s most popular product is the 1121 basmati strain, first commercially exploited by “India Gate brand” since 2005 and is now extensively marketed in India and abroad. It has more than 8mm grain length, is cheaper, and is deficient in aromatic features; but it has four times more yield than traditional basmati and cannot be readily distinguished when mingled with pure basmati. Shipments are invoiced as “Indian 1121 basmati rice”.

Hence, technology has ensured almost unchanged cost of basmati paddy for last ten years, despite the steep rise in water, power labour, fertiliser prices and land rentals. (The market price of paddy may vary according to supply-demand intensity)

The next stage of blending could be of pure basmati (around $1700/tonne fob) or Pusa basmati ($1480/tonne fob) with non-basmati rice (NBR) where grain length is around 6 mm, at one third the value of traditional or Pusa basmati. For example, 1121 basmati rice is about $1500 in a 10 kg package landed for Iran; with a 50:50 ratio of 1121 and NBR.

If the ratio of constituents is not revealed, a seller can seal the deal at anywhere between $1,250 and $1,300/tonne landed Iran — a whopping margin of 25-30 per cent. Should the buyer contractually consent for 50:50 amalgamation then the product is contracted as “Indian 1121 rice” with 50 per cent purity.

The word "basmati" is omitted for obvious reasons from the specifications. The buyer’s cost is minimised and its disposal in Iran becomes highly remunerative, while the seller laughs all the way to the bank by marginally adjusting the mix. With surplus margins, sellers offset risk for delayed payments from Iran.

Pusa Basmati 1121 is now being superseded by Pusa 1509, through advanced hybridisation research at IARI.

The latter will have maturity period of 120 days, as compared to 145 days, lesser water usage and higher yield of 6 tonnes/ha as against 4-4.5tonnes/ha of 1121 and 1 tonnes/ha of pure basmati.

Eleven basmati varieties have so far been notified under Seed Act of 1966 which can be mixed. Both 1121 and 1509 are being sown in Punjab and Haryana.


The continuation of creative destruction and evolution of more diversity, along with cost consciousness, is sure to marginalise supply and demand of pure basmati.

There are now two schools of thought in the basmati sector — traditional and modern/contemporary. The traditional sector has players with national and international brand names; swear by pure basmati and get premium for their brand and quality.

Tilda, India Gate, Dawat, Kohinoor, Lal Mahal, Best Food and some others are prominent names in this segment.

Contemporary players are the new millers who are processing paddy of basmati and non-basmati, and have turned exporters by aggressively pricing blends.

Traditionalists regret that basmati name, brands, value are being compromised by such exporters.

Modernites believe that the customer has the right to choose. If a buyer is willing to accept a mixture of basmati and non-basmati, why not offer the same?

Branded parties voice their concern over lower value realisation of an excellent commodity, while the opposite view is that NBR gets a value addition of almost $500/tonne by blending with basmati.

Basmati may be a cuisine for Emperors and Sheikhs in the past—but now common man is King.

Indian annual production of rice is about 100 mt — of which basmati is 8 mt. Surpluses are much greater in NBR than basmati.

The economic principle of export is that surpluses that are larger should be assertively exported.

The ethical side of business demands that the customer must agree to the blending that he is expected to receive. Otherwise such a transaction may be deemed deceitful and fraudulent.


Basmati acreage seen rising on hopes of higher returns

May 09, 2013

Basmati acreage is set to increase by at least a tenth this kharif season as expectation of higher returns may prompt farmers in northern States to plant more area under the aromatic rice variety.

“The area under basmati will definitely go up at least by 50-60 per cent over last year…It could be even 100 per cent,” said Anil Mittal, Chairman of KRBL Ltd, which owns the India Gate basmati brand and is the country’s largest exporter.

Basmati prices had almost doubled last year over the previous year on an estimated 30 per cent shortfall in crop size and rising demand from both domestic and overseas markets.

The prices of Pusa 1121, a paddy variety that now accounts for almost 80 per cent of the produce, were quoting around Rs 40,000 a tonne against around Rs 21,000 at the beginning of the harvest season in October last year.

“There should be at least a 10 per cent increase in area, similar to that of last year,” said R. Sundaresan, Executive Director, All-India Rice Exporters Association, striking a conservative note.


Basmati acreage in 2012-13 stood at 1.85 million hectares, an increase of 32,000 hectares over the previous year.

The transplanting of basmati planting normally starts in July every year, but the nurseries for transplantation are raised during June.

Based on the trend in sales of seeds in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, trade sources see farmers switching over to basmati from the other rice varieties and cotton to some extent eyeing better returns.

“Things are very conducive for an increase in basmati area and the way the seeds are being sold, the acreage is poised to double especially for Pusa 1121 variety,” said Vijay Setia, Director, Chamal Lal Setia Exports Ltd.

Interestingly, seed retailers in Punjab and Haryana are seeing higher demand for super fine rice variety PR 14, which is used for blending with basmati mainly for the Iran market to keep the prices under control, sources said.

Basmati exports jumped around 10 per cent to 3.5 million tonnes valued at over Rs 17,000 crore in fiscal 2012-13 on rise in global demand led by major customers such as Iran and other West Asian nations.


Non-basmati rice shipments during the fiscal registered an increase of 58 per cent at around 6.5 mt against last year’s 4.09 mt.

This quantum jump in non-basmati rice shipments was mainly on account of huge demand from African countries, such as Nigeria and Ghana and also from Indonesia.

Source: Business Line

Rice exporting firm seeks patent for parboiling unit

Sep 12, 2012

The wheat-eating belt of north India likes it raw when it comes to rice.

Even as parboiled rice, that is soaked, steamed and then dried, now accounts for over 90 per cent of rice exports from the country and over 60 per cent consumption in the southern states, north India still needs to develop an appetite for it.

A Karnal-based rice company, Chaman Lal Setia Export, has now filed for patenting a novel technology to make parboiling more water-economical and cost and fuel effective.

It has received a go ahead from the Intellectual Property Rights to scale up the technology after no objections were filed against it.

Though parboiled rice is more nutritious, less prone to insect-pest attacks, has better storage span and less possibility of broken rice, the process could involve huge costs, large quantities of water, effluent treatment plant (ETP) and emission of gases into the environment.

Entailing a cost of Rs 5 to 10 lakh, it could be added to the existing parboiling infrastructure, said Vijay Setia, former president of All India Rice Exporters Association, and company’s director. “It also eliminates the need to have an ETP plant, saves 80 per cent water, as drained water is reused for steaming and uses lesser chemicals in boilers.

“Nearly 80 per cent water will be saved, benefiting the depleting water-table of Punjab and Haryana. The process has been validated by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute and NDRI, Karnal,” Setia said while addressing mediapersons on Tuesday.


Better marketing strategy raises India’s basmati exports

Sep 06, 2012

After occupying Iran, Pakistan’s major rice market, India, equipped with a better marketing strategy, was in the process of capturing the African market, said market sources on Tuesday.

An Indian daily reported that basmati was selling at $1,100 to $1,400 per tonne, about 20 percent higher than last year’s prices. “Prices of Pakistani basmati rice are under $1,000 per tonne,” said one analyst. Africa imports about 10,000 tonnes to 12,000 tonnes of basmati, compared to millions of tonnes imported by Middle East countries. However, Africa’s basmati rice imports have grown substantially in recent years, local sources said. Indian rice exporters are also working on exporting rice to China and Iraq. China has recently lifted a six-year ban on rice imports from India. Official figures of the two countries reveal that due to better marketing, India’s basmati exports surged by 45 percent while Pakistan’s exports declined by 15 percent during FY12.

According to official figures, Pakistan’s exports were $819.6 million in FY12, down by 14.87 percent to the previous year’s exports of $962.7 million. India’s basmati shipments in FY12 surged 45 percent to touch a record 3.21 million tonnes against 2.18 million tonnes in the previous year. In value terms, the exports for FY12 were up by 46 percent.

President Basmati Growers Association (BGA) Hamid Malhi said that a better market strategy increased India’s exports while we had lost our exports. “India is ahead of us by 60 percent,” he said. Pakistan’s rice exports average more than two billion dollars for the last few years while half of them are earned by basmati rice. This year, they went down by 15 percent.

“We have sold rice below $1,000 per tonne in the international market while India fetched up to $1,500 per tonne,” he said. Pakistani rice is even better than Indian basmati and should have earned better prices, he said. “We can even increase the export of basmati but exporters failed to achieve the target of last year’s exports,” said Malhi. He further said “the government is not involved in the rice trade so the exporters have to improve their strategy.”

Vice chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Safder Mehkri said that depreciation of the Indian rupee by 30 percent last year was a big reason for the increase in the exports of the Indian basmati. Mehkri denied that India sold basmati at $1,500 per tonne. Instead, he said “it sold at $800, which is $200 below our export price of $1,000 per tonne.”

According to Indian daily, The Hindu, basmati exporters’ profits surged for the June quarter over the corresponding period last year on higher shipments and prices. Aided by a weaker rupee, almost all big players saw a significant growth in their top line mainly due to robust demand from traditional markets in West Asia. The profits of KRBL Ltd, the country’s largest basmati exporter, more than doubled to Rs566 million for the June quarter on higher overseas demand. Another large exporter, LT Foods Ltd, also saw profits double to Rs77.2 million.


Seminar at PAU on Basmati production, export

Sep 05, 2012

A state level seminar on ‘Production and Export of Basmati Rice’ is being organized at the Dr Borlaug Wheat Auditorium on September 6, jointly by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and Basmati Export Development Foundation ( BEDF), Modipurum, Meerut.  Giving details, the President of PAU Kisan Club, Mr Pawitter Pal Singh Pangli, said that PAU Director of Extension Education, Dr M.S.Gill will inaugurate the event at 10.00 am. He highlighted that the Seminar will have participation of progressive Basmati growers from Punjab and members of PAU Kisan Club. There will be deliberations on various aspects of Basmati production and export by the experts from PAU, Agricultural Produce and Export Development Authority (APEDA), and BEDF.

The Seminar has relevance in view of the excessive use of fertilizer and pesticides inputs by farmers leading to diminished export potential of the produce on account of residue retention, he said. Mr Rajan Sundreshan,  Director of All India Rice Export Association (AIREA) will educate participants about marketing strategies of Basmati. Dr Ritesh Sharma of BEDF will deliberate on Quality seed production of Basmati. Ms V. Sudhanshu of APEDA will discuss the Export potential of Indian Basmati while Dr M.S.Sidhu , PAU Farm Economist will speak on Current Scenario of Basmati Marketing in the country and abroad. The PAU experts , Dr Surjit Singh and Dr J.S.Kular,  will provide tips to farmers on successful cultivation of Basmati through efficient agronomic practices and integrated pest management, respectively.

Dr TS Riar, said that on this occasion, a farmers’ quiz about Basmati will be held. He informed that the interested participants can register themselves at 9.30 am near the venue of Seminar.


Thanks to Green Revolution in eastern India, rice production increases

Aug 16, 2012

In order to address the constraints limiting the productivity of rice-based cropping systems in eastern India, the Government launched a programme namely Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India (BGREI) during the year 2010-2011. It is a sub-scheme of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and is being implemented in seven states, viz Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Eastern Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

The focussed interventions under the programme through cluster demonstrations on improved technologies for different agro-ecological conditions of states are the integral part of the programme for reducing the yield gap. The production of rice increased substantially during 2011-2012 over the previous years in majority of the states except Assam, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The maximum increase was recorded in Jharkhand, followed by Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

For the inclusive growth and increasing food production and thereby controlling food inflation, several crop-based programmes like National Food Security Mission (NFSM), Macro Management Mode of Agriculture (MMA), Integrated Scheme of Oilseeds, Pulses, Oil palm & Maize (ISOPOM), Initiative for Nutritional Security through Intensive Millets Promotion (INSIMP) - a sub-scheme of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) are implemented in the country. Besides, the government of India is also implementing Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) in the country to enhance investment in agriculture sector by the States so as to rejuvenate agricultural sector and achieve four per cent annual growth.

This information was given by Harish Rawat, minister of state for agriculture and food processing industries, in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.


Rice exports may rise 15% as government scraps export floor price

Aug 14, 2012

India's rice exports are likely to jump as much as 15% this year after the government scrapped the minimum export price (MEP) of $700 per tonne.

"India's annual basmati exports will surpass last year's figure in the current fiscal," said Sumeet Saluja, managing director, Whitefields Overseas, which markets basmati under the brand name India Crown.

Total rice shipments, including basmati and non-basmati, were 7.3 million tonne in 2011-12. Of this, 3.2 million tonne was of basmati and the rest 4.1 million tonne was of non-basmati.

India is the world's second biggest rice producer and top basmati exporter.

Traders said ending the MEP scheme would help exporters sell lower grades of basmati at prices below $700 a tonne. "At present, Indian basmati rice is getting nearly 20% premium over the last year and is being sold in the overseas market at a price varying between $1,100-$1,400 per tonne," said Saluja.

However, Vijay Setia, former president of All-India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), said: "Last year, farmers got a paltry Rs 14-15 per kg for new paddy and Rs 30 per kg for old paddy. It was a bumper crop last year. This year, farmers are expected not to settle below Rs 24 -25 per kg for raw basmati paddy. Under these circumstances, I think there will be a drop in purchases by buyers. Indian exporters will be able to achieve last year's basmati exports of 3.2 million tonne."

India produced a record 103 million tonne of rice in the 2011-12 crop year that ended in June, registering a jump of about 8% from the previous year. This included 5 million tonne of basmati. The country exports rice to West Asia, Europe, the United States and Latin American countries.

India's rice stocks as of August 1, 2012 stand at 28.5 million tonne, up about 13% from 25.3 million tonne for the same time last year. "We do not see that a deficient monsoon will affect exports this year. We see a 10%-15% increase in exports this year. Prices have remained flat for the last three months as far as basmati rice is concerned," said Raman Aggarwal, managing director, JRD International, a rice exporting firm.

Source: economictimes

Basmati exporters expect good performance this year too

Aug 13, 2012

Basmati export companies like Satnam Overseas Ltd (Kohinoor brand rice) and L T Overseas Ltd (Dawaat brand) are hopeful of repeating last year’s good performance this season too. India exported 3.2 million tonnes of basmati rice last year and is projected to export four million tonnes of basmati rice this year.

Prices of the commodity in international markets are high and increased sowing in this kharif season will ensure availability of paddy for exports. As a strategy to harvest better quality paddy for export purposes, some companies including Amir Chand Exports (owner of the Aeroplane brand basmati rice) have entered into buyback arrangements with farmers.

Satnam Arora, joint managing director of Satnam Overseas Ltd, said the demand for basmati rice is picking up in the international markets and Indian exporters are eyeing a bigger pie this year.

“I don’t see much impact of rain on basmati cultivation. The price of basmati is $1,000-1,500 a tonne for different varieties. Last year, it was close to $800-900 a tonne. Iran is coming up as a big importer and we are now scouting new markets in the African continent. Daawat, as a basmati brand, is doing well and we expect a 20 per cent jump in exports,” said V K Arora, managing director, L T Overseas Ltd.

“In the past few years, the awareness about basmati rice has grown tremendously and so has the demand. The acceptance of Pusa 1121 as basmati has widened the scope for exporters. Even African countries are now demanding basmati rice,” said J K Suri, chairman of Amir Chand Jagdish Kumar Exports Ltd (Aeroplane brand rice).

He added the company has a buyback arrangement with farmers for organic rice, meant for the niche market. The export price of basmati rice in the international markets is $800-1,400 a tonne, depending on the variety. The price remained close to $800 a tonne due to high supply last year.

Apprehensions regarding a decline in paddy area due to delayed and deficit rain are fading because the latest data available with government agencies shows that rice has been sown on 23.4 million hectares, compared to 19.1 million hectares a week before. The normal sowing at this point in year is 24.1 million hectares. According to Mahinder Pal Jindal, president of the All-India Rice Exporters Association, the yield of basmati rice will not be affected this year as it is grown mainly in the irrigated belt of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.


India pips Thailand as world''s top rice exporter

Jul 27, 2012

India surpassed Thailand as the world''s leading rice exporter this month, as Bangkok''s price intervention policy made the kingdom''s rice more expensive on the world market, industry sources said Thursday. On July 10, India''s total rice exports for this year reached 3.61 million tons, edging past the 3.6 million exported by Thailand, which has held the top slot for decades, according to data gathered by the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

"India has surpassed Thailand already, by a small margin, and Thailand''s exports are likely to get smaller and smaller," said Vichai Sriprasert, an honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association. Over the January-to-June period, Thailand''s rice shipments plummeted 49 per cent, according to Commerce Ministry figures.

Thailand in 2011 exported 10.7 million tons of rice, compared with India''s 4.1 million and Vietnam''s 7.1 million, but this year, Thailand''s rice exports are expected to reach 6.5 million tons, compared with India''s 8 million and Vietnam''s 7 million tons, according to a forecast by the US Department of Agriculture. The country has been the world''s leading rice exporter since the mid-1960''s, when it surpassed neighbouring Myanmar in the top slot after the latter became socialist and nationalised all industries including rice milling and trade. Thai government price intervention is likely to see the kingdom following in Myanmar''s footsteps, industry sources said.


Poor rains, prices boost India's basmati sowing

Jul 26, 2012

Scanty monsoon rains and expectations of better returns have boosted the cultivation of premium basmati rice in India, the world's second biggest rice producer and top basmati seller, improving the prospects of more exports, government officials said.

Basmati rice brings higher returns, requires less water and can be sown late, factors that attract farmers in the northern Indian states of Punjab and Haryana. These states account for over 70 percent of India's output of the aromatic, long-grain staple, which has been exempted from a rice export ban.

Monsoon rainfall in Punjab and Haryana has been about 70 percent less than the average level so far, the weather office data showed.

"There was less rainfall during the transplantation period of paddy, therefore area under basmati will certainly rise," said P.S. Rangi, marketing consultant, Punjab State Farmers' Commission.

The Punjab government estimates that the area under basmati varieties may rise to 750,000 hectares this crop year, up 10 percent year-on-year, while the farm department in Haryana expects it to rise to 800,000 hectares, up 2.5 percent.

"Weak monsoon and expectations of higher returns on basmati varieties, following the removal of minimum export price are reasons for increase in the area under basmati," said B.S. Duggal, additional director with the Haryana government's farm department.

India's annual basmati exports could rise as much as 15 percent in 2012/13, touching a record 3 million tonnes, industry officials had said in June.


India's most widely grown rice variety may help keep diabetes at bay

Jul 11, 2012

Washington, July 10 (ANI): Scientists have found that the glycemic index (GI) of rice varies a lot from one type of rice to another, with most varieties scoring a low to medium GI.

And they have revealed that rice varieties such as India's most widely grown rice variety, Swarna, have a low GI.

The findings of the research, which analyzed 235 types of rice from around the world, is good news because it not only means rice can be part of a healthy diet for the average consumer, but it also means people with diabetes, or at risk of diabetes, can select the right rice to help maintain a healthy, low-GI diet.

The study found that the GI of rice ranges from a low of 48 to a high of 92, with an average of 64.

The research team from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Food Futures Flagship also identified the key gene that determines the GI of rice, an important achievement that offers rice breeders the opportunity to develop varieties with different GI levels to meet consumer needs.

Future development of low-GI rice would also enable food manufacturers to develop new, low-GI food products based on rice.

Dr. Melissa Fitzgerald, who led the IRRI team, said that GI is a measure of the relative ability of carbohydrates in foods to raise blood sugar levels after eating.

"Understanding that different types of rice have different GI values allows rice consumers to make informed choices about the sort of rice they want to eat," she said.

"Rice varieties such as India's most widely grown rice variety, Swarna, have a low GI and varieties such as Doongara from Australia and Basmati have a medium GI," Dr. Fitzgerald noted.

Dr. Tony Bird, CSIRO Food Futures Flagship researcher, said that low-GI diets offer a range of health benefits: "Low-GI diets can reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, and are also useful for helping diabetics better manage their condition.

"This is good news for diabetics and people at risk of diabetes who are trying to control their condition through diet, as it means they can select the right rice to help maintain a healthy, low-GI diet," he added.

Low-GI foods are those measured 55 and less, medium-GI foods are those measured between 56 and 69, while high-GI foods measure 70 and above.

When food is measured to have a high GI, it means it is easily digested and absorbed by the body, which often results in fluctuations in blood sugar levels that can increase the chances of getting diabetes, and make management of type 2 diabetes difficult.

Conversely, foods with low GI are those that have slow digestion and absorption rates in the body, causing a gradual and sustained release of sugar into the blood, which has been proven beneficial to health, including reducing the chances of developing diabetes.

Eating rice with other foods can help reduce the overall GI of a meal and, when combined with regular exercise, can reduce the chances of getting diabetes. In addition, people who exercise need more carbohydrates in their diet and can take advantage of low-GI foods for sustained activity.

Rice plays a strong role in global food security. Being the staple for about 3.5 billion people, it is important to maximize the nutritional value of rice. Low-GI rice will have a particularly important role in the diets of people who derive the bulk of their calories from rice and who cannot afford to eat rice with other foods to help keep the GI of their diet low. Low-GI rice could help to keep diabetes at bay in these communities.

This is the first of several studies the group plans to carry out based on investigating the role of rice in mitigating chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.


Rice shares up on removal of minimum export price

Jul 06, 2012

Rice stocks surged by up to 16 per cent on Thursday on the back of the government’s decision to allow basmati exports without the barrier of minimum export price (MEP). Fixed by the government, MEP is the benchmark price below which an exporter cannot sign a contract with foreign buyers. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), through a notification yesterday, announced the removal of MEP, which was received by exporters positively. While the share price of Kohinoor Foods Ltd jumped 14.41 per cent to close at Rs 32.15 that of LT Food Ltd shot up 9.64 per cent to Rs 43.80. Also, KRBL Ltd stock price jumped 7.75 per cent to close at Rs 22.25 on the BSE. Non-basmati rice exporters saw similar jump in stock prices.  


BSE price in Rs

4-Jul 5-Jul % change
Rei Agro 10.00 11.56 15.60
Kohinoor Foods 28.10 32.15 14.41
Chaman Lal Setia Exports 30.45 33.60 10.34
Lakshmi Energy & Foods 17.64 19.45 10.26
LT Foods 39.95 43.80 9.64
KRBL 20.65 22.25 7.75
Saboo Sodium Chloro 10.00 10.70 7.00
Usher Agro 59.45 62.80 5.63
Madhur Ind 10.16 10.66 4.92
ADF Foods 49.30 51.70 4.87
Freshtrop Fruits 12.72 13.27 4.32
Chordia Food Products 43.65 45.50 4.24
Foods And Inns 238.35 247.95 4.03
Agro Dutch Ind 5.05 5.23 3.56
Hind Ind 29.55 30.50 3.21
Data compiled by BS Research Bureau

Rice exporters anticipate a huge surge in their realisation on the growing global demand for the Indian variety. Especially with the Chinese government’s decision to import basmati from India, the staple food is expected to fetch higher premium. “For that, however, India would have to change the strategy and do proper marketing. Basmati rice of similar quality originating from Thailand fetches $1,100-1,200 a tonne in the export market, while the same of Indian origin attracts $950-1,000 a tonne. Hence, Indian exporters need to do immense effort to fetch realisation at par with Thai suppliers,” said Vijay Setia, former president of All India Rice Exporters’ Association. Global demand, however, is robust. Hence, prices are likely to remain firm. With an estimated annual production at 7.5 million tonnes (mt), India has 70 per cent of the global basmati export market. India’s basmati exports are likely to jump 30 per cent this financial year on the government’s decision to remove MEP. Total exports shot up 20 per cent to three mt during 2011-12, compared with 2.4 mt in the previous year. The growing foreign demand and China’s interest in importing from India would create competition. Since the production quantity remains almost stagnant and the chances of inclusion of the non-basmati variety of higher quality are minimal, the growing foreign demand is expected to prove beneficial for exporters. “Overall, exports of basmati rice will go up at least by 30 per cent,” said Gurnam Arora, joint managing director of the Kohinoor Foods Ltd, the producer and exporter of Kohinoor brand. The demand for Indian basmati has been fairly good in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Europe and the US, despite unfavourable global economic conditions. India’s basmati, especially the Pusa 1121 variety, has been fetching a premium over the MEP. About two months ago, the government had cut MEP by $200 to $700 a tonne from $900 a tonne. The delay in monsoon rainfall in major growing areas has hampered the sowing of paddy this season.

Source: business-standard

Govt abolishes basmati rice MEP

Jul 05, 2012

The government on Wednesday scrapped the minimum export price (MEP) on basmati rice to boost exports. "Basmati rice can be exported without any MEP," a notification by the directorate general of foreign trade said. Earlier this year, the government had reduced MEP on basmati rice to United States Dollar (USD) 700 a tonne from USD 900 a tonne to make it more competitive in the global market. Reacting to the development, All India Rice Exporters Association president M P Jindal said that this was a welcome decision as it would encourage export of Sharbati and Suganda rice varieties, which were neither basmati rice nor non-basmati rice varieties. Jindal said these two varieties of rice were grown largely in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. With different views, Chaman Lal Setia exports director Vijay Sethia said that the abolition of MEP on basmati rice would lead to export of inferior quality of rice as basmati rice. He said "We used to protect our basmati rice by charging MEP. The MEP elimination would help the farmers and not the exporters." India exports the premium aromatic rice variety to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and Yemen. The country had exported 2.4 million tonnes in the 2011-12 fiscal, according to industry data. As far as non-basmati rice is concerned, there is no MEP fixed on non-basmati rice. The country has shipped 4.25 million tonnes of non-basmati rice since the export ban on the commodity was lifted in September, 2011, the industry data said.


India to be largest rice exporter in Asia

Jul 05, 2012

Rice stocks are likely to remain upbeat following news that the government has removed the minimum export price (MEP) ceiling for some of the rice companies. Gurnam Arora, joint MD of Kohinoor Foods deems this as very good news for the rice industry. With the removal of MSP, Arora believes that they will be doing exports full throttle. With expectations of basmati export touching about 3 million tonne and export of non-basmati another 5-6 million tonne, Arora informs that India will be the largest export of rice in the continent. Below is the edited transcript of his interview with CNBC-TV18's Mitali Mukherjee and Sonia Shenoy. Also watch the accompanying video. Q: Can you confirm whether or not indeed this MEP has been removed? Quantify it in terms of a potential impact for you. A: We have also got the news that minimum support price (MSP) has been taken away and it is not applicable on rice exports. It is very good news for the rice industry. In fact, it was a long-term pending demand with the government. Our version with the government is that since the export started since 1978, there has never been controlled by MSP. Only in the last two years, they have started controlling the MSP. This has resulted in a lot of pitfalls because sometimes the price in the domestic markets is favourable and you can export at a lower price. But due to the MSP, it is very difficult to export at a lower price. So at the end of the day, we lose exports and hand it over to Pakistan. Now I think that is over and we will be doing our exports with full-throttle. Q: Where is it right now that export prices are reining at? What do you think the big effect for this will be that volumes or are you currently enjoying better margins i.e. higher prices on exports? A: No, in fact prices are always fixed by demand and supply so because of the competition you cannot always enjoy high profits; if you are making a profit, your competitor doesn’t allow you to do that. So it is a demand – it is always the forces in the market which balance the price. There are two types of exports happening - one is non-basmati, which is between USD 400-500 and the other one is basmati, which varies from USD 900 to USD 1,400-1,500. We feel that this time, export of basmati will touch about 3 million tonne and export of non-basmati another 5-6 million tonne. So India will be the largest exporter of rice in the continent and that is good news for everybody. Q: You said USD 900-1,500 per tonne for basmati, now that this minimum price has been removed, at what price do you think you can export it at. Particularly for Kohinoor Foods, what were the quantum or the improvements in exports been that this hurdle is now out of the way, do you think it will be a jump by about 10-20%? A: We intend to improve our export by 30% this year. It is not that if MSP has been lowered or removed – the price should be come down. We are above MSP because MSP was USD 900 per tonne latest and we are exporting at USD 1,100-1,200 per tonne. But sometimes it becomes a deterrent when the prices come to USD 800 per tonne, what do you do? If you export at a higher price, it is very difficult to do that because you have competition with Pakistan. So it is not that the price has been reduced by MSP but now we have at least maneuvering in the trade, now nothing will stop us exporting by whatever the prices will be, we will be doing it.


Rice range-bound in lacklustre trade

Jul 05, 2012

Rice prices remained range-bound in a dull market on Wednesday. Prices of aromatic and non-basmati rice continued to rule around at previous levels. The market moving range-bound within a negative territory, said Mr Amit Chandna, Proprietor of Hanuman Rice Trading Company. Traders expect rice prices to fall in the near future, he said. In the physical market, Pusa-1121 (steam) quoted at Rs 5,750-5,800 a quintal, while Pusa-1121 (sela) sold at Rs 4,800-4,850. Pure Basmati (raw) quoted at Rs 5,450-5,500, while pure basmati (sela) ruled around at Rs 5,000 a quintal. Duplicate basmati quoted at Rs 4,500-4,600. For the brokens of Pusa-1121, Tibar sold at Rs 3,400, Dubar at Rs 2,800-2,900 and Mongra at Rs 2,100-2,200 a quintal. PR-11 (sela) went for Rs 2,500, PR-11 (Raw) was at Rs 2,350-2,450 a quintal, Permal (raw) sold at Rs 2,000-2,100 a quintal while Permal (sela) went for Rs 1,900-21,00.  PR-14 (steam) went for Rs 2,650-2,850 a quintal.  Sharbati (steam) quoted at Rs 3,650-3,700 a quintal while Sharbati (sela) sold at Rs 3,400-3,500 a quintal.

 Paddy Arrivals

 Around 3,000 bags of Sathi variety arrived at the Karnal Grain Market Terminal and sold at Rs1,050-1,085 a quintal. Farmers and a few market experts believe that dry monsoon may not have a big impact on rice production in Haryana and Punjab, as 93 per cent of the agriculture land is irrigated. About 50 per cent of sowing has been completed in the Karnal region.


Commerce min recommends scrapping of MEP for basmati

Jun 29, 2012

With a huge jump of 32% in Basmati exports last fiscal, the commerce ministry has sought abolition of the minimum export price (MEP) regime for boosting exports. Sources told FE that the ministry's recommendation had been sent to empowered group of ministers (EGoM), which would take it up shortly. In February, an EGoM headed by former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had lowered MEP for aromatic rice by $200 per tonne to $700 per tonne.Exporters have been demanding a lower MEP for Basmati as Pakistan, the country’s only competitor in the global market, does not follow any MEP regime. Besides, at present, Indian aromatic and long grain rice is commanding a price in excess of $1,000 per tonne in the global market. “The abolition of MEP would help us increase exports in the current fiscal,” Mohinder Pal Jindal, president, All-India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), told FE.


Iraq, a new market for India's basmati exports

Feb 13, 2012

Iraq is emerging as a new market for Indian basmati as exports of the aromatic rice have picked up in the post-Saddam era. Exporters are bullish on the prospects and hope to double shipments to about 2.5 lakh tonnes in the current financial year. “People are shifting to quality products due to the openness in the system in the post-dictatorial era. This is resulting in increased demand for the quality Indian rice,” said Mr Vijay Sethia, President of the All-India Rice Exporters Association.     

Basmati rice exports may rise by 14 pc in 2011-12 on lower MEP

Feb 09, 2012

Basmati rice exports are expected to rise 14 per cent at about 2.5 million tonne this fiscal following the government''s decision to reduce the export price by USD 200 per tonne. "The decision was long awaited. It will help streamline exports, particularly to Saudi Arabia, as we were expecting decline in exports during February-March," All India Rice Exporters'' Association Vijay Setia told PTI. Setia said basmati exports could now increase to 2.5 million tonne this fiscal, from 2.2 million tonne in 2010-11. An empowered group of ministers on food had yesterday decided to lower the minimum export price (MEP) to USD 700 per tonne from USD 900 per tonne. Asked about payment problems from exports to Iran, Setia said, "There have been defaults/deferments in payments from Iran as the Iranian currency has depreciated sharply in last few months making imports costlier".     

Basmati rice firm on domestic buying

Feb 06, 2012

Good domestic demand coupled with new export inquires, kept aromatic and non-basmati rice prices firm on Friday. The market sentiment is largely positive and prices may increase in the near future, market sources said. After several requests made by the big players in the trade, the Government is likely to review the minimum export price of basmati rice. The current MEP, which is $900 for a tonne, is higher than current market prices, and it is a major reason for exports languishing this year. The Government may reduce the MEP by 22 per cent and may set the fresh benchmark floor price for export around $700 a tonne, sources said.     

Basmati export price may be cut by $200

Feb 01, 2012

India, the world’s second-biggest rice grower, may cut the minimum export price (MEP) of the basmati variety by $200 a tonne to boost shipments, according to a government official with direct knowledge of the matter. A ministerial panel on February 7 will consider a proposal to reduce the minimum price from $900 a tonne, or may scrap the floor, the official said, asking not to be identified, citing government policy. Basmati shipments may increase 14 per cent to 2.5 million tonnes in the year ending March 31, should the government abolish the minimum export price, Vijay Setia, president of the All India Rice Exporters’ Association, said in a phone interview on Tuesday. If the price stays unchanged, exports may drop to 1.9-2 million tonnes in the year ending March, he said. The panel may consider cutting the benchmark export price or dismantling it, food minister K V Thomas told reporters on Tuesday. Indian traders have contracted to ship 3.5 million tonnes of basmati rice as of yesterday since the financial year began on April 1, 2011, according to the rice association.     

Enquiries push up Pusa, basmati

Jan 31, 2012

New trade enquires pushed up Pusa-1121 (sela) and duplicate basmati prices, while all other aromatic and non-basmati rice varieties were unchanged on Monday. In overseas markets, Indian white rice touched $455-$465 a tonne (f.o.b.) last week, up from $440-$450 a week ago. Demand for Indian rice abroad is rising and recently traders signed new contracts for aromatic varieties, said Mr Tara Chand Sharma, proprietor of Tara Chand and Sons. A weak dollar against the rupee also supported the rise in prices, he added. On the physical market, Pusa-1121 (steam) quoted at Rs 4,000-4,100 a quintal while Pusa-1121 (sela) went up Rs 100 at Rs 3,500. Duplicate basmati increased by Rs 50 at Rs 3,150-3,250 a quintal.     

EGoM to decide on Basmati MEP on Feb 7

Jan 23, 2012

The government will consider lowering of the minimum export price (MEP) for basmati rice in a meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGom) on food scheduled for February 7. The Indian exporters have been demanding a lower MEP, which is $900 per tonne currently. India’s only competitor, Pakistan, does not follow any MEP regime. Due to a bumper basmati rice harvest and depreciation of rupee against dollar, the price realisation from the exports of the aromatic rice variety has fallen to an average $700-$ 800 per tonne in the global market. Within a year, global basmati rice prices have fallen from $1,100 to $700 a tonne. However, Indian exporters cannot price their shipments below $900, which makes them uncompetitive, effectively blocking exports. Basmati exporters from Pakistan do not face such hurdles.     

Pakistan: Basmati export to India opposed

Jan 23, 2012

In what appears to be a new twist in Pakistan-India row over the ownership of Basmati, growers have opposed the government’s reported intention to allow export of the rice variety to India, saying the move will not only lower domestic paddy price but also allow the neighbouring country to re-export it under Indian brand. “There is a big difference in the cost of production of Basmati rice in both countries. India subsidises its agriculture to the tune of $30 billion, while in Pakistan there is 16 per cent general sales tax (GST) on all inputs along with the recently imposed gas infrastructure cess,” Basmati Growers’ Association chief Hamid Malhi said on Sunday. The issue has re-emerged in the wake of the government’s decision to liberalise trade with India. Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma is scheduled to visit Pakistan on Feb 13. The two countries have been locked in litigation over the ownership of the Super Basmati brand since 2008.     

Export contracts keep rice steady

Jan 12, 2012

After witnessing a good rally in the last 10 days, the rice market remained steady on Wednesday, with prices of aromatic and non-basmati rice ruling firm at previous levels. The market has seen some good buying over the last few days and recently some new export contracts have been signed at around $800 a quintal, said Mr Tara Chand Sharma, proprietor of Tara Chand and Sons. Traders have committed to export around 2.24 million tonnes of aromatic rice over the next nine months, he added. Aromatic rice is unlikely to see any major change in prices, said Mr Sharma. Pusa-1121 (steam) was quoted at Rs 4,150-4,250 a quintal, while Pusa-1121 (sela) was at Rs 3,400-3,550 a quintal. Duplicate basmati was sold at Rs 3,300-3,400 a quintal. Pure basmati (raw) was quoted at Rs 4,900 a quintal, while pure basmati (sela) was sold at Rs 4,100 a quintal.     

Basmati prices up with demand

Jan 09, 2012

Pure basmati (raw) rice remained in demand and prices rose further by Rs 200 a quintal while all other aromatic and non-basmati rice varieties were ruling firm on Friday. It's unlikely to see any major uptrend in rice prices in near future as export demand for aromatic rice is quite sluggish at present. Domestic demand alone pushed prices upwards, said Mr Amit Chandna, proprietor of Hanuman Rice Trading Company. A bumper production and carry forward stocks are expected to keep non-basmati varieties firm, he added. According to reports, a decision over further allocation for export of non-basmati rice may come by the end of January. Prices of pure basmati (raw) increased further by Rs 200 and ruled at Rs 4,700 a quintal, while pure basmati (sela) sold at Rs 4,000 a quintal.     

Payment problems with Iran to dampen India’s basmati exports

Jan 05, 2012

India’s basmati rice shipments may rise only marginally to around 2.7 million tonnes (mt) in 2011-12 despite a bumper harvest and a sharp depreciation of the rupee, mainly due to a lingering payment problem with key buyer Iran and high floor price for exports, trade executives said on Wednesday.Traders in India and Iran have been finding it difficult to undertake financial transactions for basmati trade after the Reserve Bank in December 2010 stopped Iran-related payments through a regional clearing house that the US says Tehran is using to avoid global sanctions imposed due to the nation’s ambitions to build a nuclear arsenal.     

Low basmati prices may boost sale of packaged rice

Dec 16, 2011

As basmati prices rule low, the organised players in the basmati market are trying to push more consumers to the branded commodity. "Packaged rice market is growing at about 35% per annum. This growth is not aided by addition of new rice eaters but by the consumers' shift from the loose rice market to the packaged segment," said Ayushman Gupta, director of Best Foods.     

Basmati rice exports fetch lower prices

Dec 14, 2011

For the first time, India parboiled basmati is selling at a $250 discount per tonne to Pakistan as severe working capital crunch is compelling exporters to liquidate their stocks. Indian basmati rice exporters are now getting queries from Pakistani traders and importers to procure Pusa 1121 variety of basmati rice. Currently, Indian parboiled traditional basmati is sold for $750 a tonne, 1121 parboiled basmati rice variety for $800 a tonne and brown rice (unpolished) for $700 a tonne. The prices are 15% to 20% lower than the previous year.     

Basmati, non-basmati prices down

Dec 05, 2011

Prices of rice basmati and non-basmati fell up to Rs 100 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today on stockists selling against adequate supplies. Traders said adequate stocks following increased arrivals from the producing regions amid reduced offtake mainly led to a fall in rice basmati and non-basmati prices. In the national capital, rice basmati common and Pusa-1121 variety declined by Rs 100 each to Rs 4,400-4,500 and Rs 3,600-4,000 per quintal, respectively. Non-basmati rice permal raw and wand shed Rs 20 and Rs 10 to Rs 1,970-2,020 and Rs 2,100-2,150, while sela and IR-8 were down by Rs 50 and Rs 25 to Rs 2,300-2,325 and Rs 1,875-1,900 per quintal, respectively in line with a rice basmati trend.     

Indian basmati rice consignments held in US being cleared

Dec 02, 2011

The US government is in the process of clearing Indian consignments of basmati rice held at its ports for traces of pesticide called tricyclazole, a senior official of the agri-export promotion body, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority (Apeda) said. Tricyclazole is a widely used pesticide in rice-growing countries, including India, Thailand, Japan and China. “The US has cleared the maximum containers of basmati rice. It is in the process of examining the remaining few. The problem is easing," the official added.     

US blocks Indian basmati import over pesticide traces

Dec 01, 2011

The most prestigious market for Indian basmati rice, the USA, has put on hold all consignments of the rice being imported there. In a major setback to Indian basmati exporters, the US Food and Drug Authority has refused to accept basmati being exported to that country, on account of traces of pesticides found in the food grain. It is learnt that the FDA has refused to allow these basmati consignments to be released to traders for onward distribution to retailers. These consignments, consisting of over 100 containers, have been offloaded and kept at various US ports, while the authorities there analyze the pesticide content in the rice and assess the likely health hazards on its consumption.     

Fungicide traces may hit basmati exports to US

Nov 28, 2011

Indian basmati exporters may face a tough time after traces of fungicide residue were detected by the US authorities and their shipments detained. In the past three months, over 150 containers carrying some 3,000 tonnes of basmati rice have been detained at various ports after traces of tricyclazole were found, a senior official with a major rice exporter said. As a result, buyers from the US are hesitant to sign new contracts, the official told Business Line. The US is one of the growing markets for Indian basmati and accounts for about 7-8 per cent of the country's exports, which stood at 2.18 million tonnes valued at Rs 10,578 crore in 2010-11.     

Playing with rice

Nov 24, 2011

Of the many varieties of rice India is home to, basmati rules the roost, with many Indian companies exporting it to various countries. To promote this further more, a two-day culinary extravaganza “Basmati for the World” was organized by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) \under the aegis of the Ministry of Commerce & /industry, Government of India recently along with All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) to promote Indian Basmati rice ion the international markets. What hooked many to the fest were the presence of some international, who worked their way to make the best recipes for guest. From Aracini, a Sicilian dish (fried rice balls) by chef Matt Edmonds from London, UK, Maki roll by Michelin star chef Lionel Levy to basmati ice cream served with caramelized pineapple embellished with saffron, the conclave left foodies asking for more. “The thought behind the chef conclave is ti take basmati to the local households in the target markets through main stream cuisines such as Chinese, Mexican, Italian and Thai foods,” said Asit Tripahty, Chairman, APEDA. Garnished with coriander, kaffir leaf and water cress, chef Matthias Mittnacht created magic in his perfect mix of shrimp and rice balls in peanut sauce. Sharing his recipe he tells us, “The idea is to blend prawns and basmati rice with egg, and cream, folding gently and the rest follows. To this ass chopped ginger, garlic and coriander. Coat with panko, and then shape into balls and fry in oil. Glace nuts with chili, garlic and curry paste. Ass the chicken stock and reduce a little. Add coconut. Stir till the ingredients blend, making a crunchy curry. Season with Thai fish sauce and sugar. Glace pok soy and cherry tomatoes. Garnish with coriander, kaffir leaf and water cress. And the rice balls seemed to be doing the magic all through. Another chef from Europe tantalized the taster buds of guests with his French rice ball fritters. The most interesting ingredient of chef Lionel Levy was the use of crushed garlic with white wine and thyme. And the recipe is simple. “You just need to drain basmati rice and boil it in salted water with clove, bay leaf, crushed garlic, white wine and thyme. Cook it fir 20 minutes and drain. Allow it to cool. Mix the crushed basmati rice powder along with cayenne pepper and water. Heat oil in a pan and sauté diced chorizo, onions, peppers. Season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, mix the boiled Basmati rice, rice paste, sauted onions, peppers and chorizo. Add the roasted pine nuts and mix well, to make a thick paste. Fold yogurt into the mixture and ass squid ink for colour. Mix yeast and let it rest for 5 hours in the refrigerator. Make small balls, roughly 5 cm in diameter and deep fry for 5 min at 180°C. Drain, season with salt and serve with confit tomatoes, “explains chef Levy. What hooked many was American chef David Felton’s basmati risotto with Brussels sprouts and butternut squash and paired the classical butter-poached Maine lobster with basmati rice and Thai curry sauce. The event say a Mexican chef Edgar Navarro creating the tumbada, the traditional seafood rice dish of Veracruz, with basmati rice.     
Source: AsianAge

Decision on basmati export floor price soon, says Khullar

Nov 23, 2011

The government may decide soon on lowering the $900/tonne minimum export price (MEP) for basmati, commerce secretary Rahul Khullar said. “Exporters have petitioned us and we are aware of their difficulties. We will decide shortly on lowering MEP,” commerce secretary Rahul Khullar said. In just a year, global basmati prices have fallen from 1,100 a tonne to $700. However, Indian exporters cannot price their shipments below $900, which makes them uncompetitive, effectively blocking exports. Basmati exporters from rival Pakistan, meanwhile, face no such hurdles.     

Top chefs punch Basmati aroma in global dishes

Nov 23, 2011

The next time you visit an Italian restaurant, ask for a Basmati risotto. And don't be surprised if the Mexican celebrity chef Pepe Ochoa serves his country's national dish, mole (pronounced mol-ay), with Basmati rice at his restaurant in Veracruz. Moments after Union commerce secretary spoke of protectionist barriers coming up against Basmati in some markets, 10 leading chefs from around the world gathered at The Grand New Delhi on Tuesday to redefine the image of the fragrant, long grained rice by incorporating it in recipes where you'd least expect to find it. Basmati, being gluten-free, isn't the kind of rice that suits, say, a risotto. That doesn't deter David Felton, executive chef at the Natirar retreat in the hills of Somerset County, New Jersey, co-promoted by Sir Richard Branson.     

Basmati rice faces barriers in global markets

Nov 23, 2011

Basmati rice enjoys a premium place in global markets because of its unique aroma and taste. But, several countries are creating market barriers denying their consumers taste and fragrance of the Indian rice. "Basmati is a premium product and there is no doubt that in some markets it is being singled out quite precisely because there is a market for it...," Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said while inaugurating an 'International Chef Conference' here. While Khullar did not specify the markets where the Indian Basmati rice is facing the barriers like high tariff and stringent sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) standards, trade officials pointed out the problem lies in Europe and China.     

Basmati rice now going places

Nov 22, 2011

CLASSICAL Italian chefs may dismiss it as an act of blasphemy, but Alfonso Lomonaco has dished up a risotto recipe with Basmati rice. Italy’s iconic rice dish is made only with high – starch, short or medium grained varieties such as Arborio and Carnaroll, but Bangkok – based Lomonaco has shown that Basmati is a worthy substitute in a brilliantly illustrated coffee table volume, Basmati: Fragrance, Flavour & Finery, which is being released on Tuesday as part of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority of India’s Basmati for the World 20 campaign. This is APEDA’s first – of –its kind promotional push for a foodgrain for which India has been lobbying for a ‘Geographical indicator’ on the lines of Champagne and Permiglano Regglano (parmesan cheese), It will see 10 visiting chefs, including two with Michelln stars from France, preparing international dishes with Basmati. In some instances, they will rewrite culinary traditions in a manner that may not please votaries of classical cuisine. French Michelin one – star chef Lionel Levy has created monk fish makl rolls and his celebrates compatriot, Michelin two star Olivier Bellin , has rolled out curried rice futomakl, replacing the derlgueur short grained, gluten – rich sticky sushl rice with the fragrant, long grained, gluten – free Basmati. Lomonaco has made seafood paella replacing the standard medium grained rice with Basmati. American chef Devid Felton, famous for his farm-to-table restaurant, Ninety Acres, has created a Basmati risotto with Brussels sprouts and butternut squash and paired the classical butter poached Maine lobster with Basmati rice and Thai curry sauce, Edgar Navarro, a Mexican chef, has reinvented the tumbada, the traditional seafood rice dish of Veracruz, with Basmati rice. The idea behind the 49 page volume put together by a young but well travelled chef, Shlip Gupta, of the Grand New Delhi, is to make Basmati go places. As we learn from the book, the world has 10,000 varieties of rice and Basmati accounts for a mere 1 per cent. But Basmati comes with the weight of history behind it. The oldest remains of the rice variety, according to the late Mohinder Singh Randhawa, were discovered during archeological excavation at Arhar Village near Udaipur. Andtoday, at 2 million metric tons, it is the single largest africultural export item earning India Rs 11,820 crore. “The idea… is to take Basmati to households in the target markets through mainstream culsines such as Chinese, Italia and Thai,” says APEDA, Chairman Asit Tripathy. The two day event, he adds, will be be attended by food critics, representatives of international retail chains and rice exporters. The coffee table volume informs us that 85 per cent of the world’s rice is consumed by 10 countries, with India at No. 2after China with an annual intake of 82.25 million tones.     
Source: mailtoday

Basmati glut sends prices, farmers’ dreams crashing

Nov 21, 2011

The deep lines on his forehead have become more pronounced in the past month. As 75-year-old Prakash Chand, a resident of Bhaini Khurd village near Karnal, sits with his grandson Joginder in his fields to find a way of raising yet another loan, tears well up in his eyes. “I am an old man and could die soon. My biggest regret is that instead of trying to reduce the debt burden for my children, I will be leaving behind a huge debt on them. “With the price of basmati crashing this year, I have no option but to take yet another loan from the commission agent. Since I already have a loan from a bank through my kisan credit card and a tractor loan, I will have to rely on the commission agent to bail me out of my present financial crisis, even if I have to pay a higher rate of interest,” he said.     

Basmati export registrations down

Nov 21, 2011

Traders have registered exports of 1.63 million tones (mt) of basmati rice is April – October, down 2.4 per cent from 1.66 mt a year ago, an official with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority of India said op Friday, “Basmati exports are down because buyers are demanding more non- basmati rice,” another industry official told News Wire18. The exports in November are seen falling further because no contract has been registered so far, he added, “Exports to Europe and US are primarily affected in a big way because of pesticide issue, while Iran is not buying basmati rice from India because of their new crop, “the industry official said, Exporters have to face tough standards in rice exported to Europe after some countries there found higher than permitted level of pesticide in the India grain.     
Source: businesslines

Basmati can be grown in AP too

Nov 18, 2011

Cultivation of basmati rice need not remain confined to the North, and it can be grown in Andhra Pradesh, too, said Mr P.S.R. Das, General Secretary of the Krishna district unit of Kisan Service Organisation. He said that an attempt to grow the rice in Krishna district began at Gudivada, a paddy-growing belt, and the yields and the aroma were good. “We brought breeder seed from JN Krishi Vidyalaya, Jabalpur, and there was also a buy-back arrangement with a local rice miller. The crop was grown on 270 acres during the last kharif season. Farmers could get Rs 1,200 or a bag (of 75 kg) against Rs 850-900 for the local varieties of rice. The yield was in the range of 20-25 bags an acre,” he said.     

Low basmati price may help increase exports this year

Nov 17, 2011

The anticipation of a bumper production of basmati rice in the major producing belt (Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh) has put pressure on prices and lower prices have helped exports to go up. Prices have also declined globally and hence, lower domestic prices are helpful to exporters. Exporters are of the view that lower price may push the exports and it can reach three million tonnes this year as compared to 2.2 millions last year. As per the APEDA data, the actual exports during April-June 2011 was 6.88 lakh tonnes as compared to 4.35 lakh tonnes during corresponding period last year. The total basmati quantity registered with them for export during April-October 2011 was 16.22 lakh tonnes, which is more or less same as compared to last year.     

High prices could trip basmati exports

Nov 14, 2011

A minimum export price (MEP) of $900 a tonne for basmati rice, considered high in the current global market, may spoil the party for Indian exporters. The exporters want the Government to either revise the MEP for basmati in line with prevailing global prices or abolish it completely and leave the pricing to market forces. Prices of basmati in the past one year have crashed from an average of $1,100 to $650 a tonne. This crash has been triggered by factors such as a consecutive bumper harvest in key producer India and huge carry forward stocks, weakening demand from the financial crisis hit European Union and the US, and payments issues surrounding Iran, the biggest buyer for the premium Pusa 1121 variety. Unless the Government intervenes now, exporters said they face the risk of losing their market share to rival Pakistan.     

Organises two day event “Basmati for the world” on November 22-23 in Delhi

Nov 14, 2011

In a bid to further popularize the Indian aromatic rice Basmati globally Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority of India (APEDA) along with All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) is organizing a two day event “Basmati for the world 2011 ” on November 22-23 in the capital. Celebrity chefs from across the globe will be coming to India on November 22 to take part in the two-day international chef conference “Basmati for the world 2011” and showcase their culinary delights using world famous Indian Aromatic ‘Basmati’ rice .     

Exporters eye higher sales, seek cut in basmati MEP

Nov 11, 2011

A bumper crop and rising global demand are expected to boost India’s basmati rice exports this fiscal, top exporters said. They plan to request the government to reduce the minimum export price (MEP) of $900 a tonne to garner more export market share. Mandatory floor prices – which hold domestic prices down by limiting exports and keeping stocks within the country – prevent farmers and exporters from gaining from global demand. “There should not be any MEP for basmati rice because it restricts market expansion,” said Gurnam Arora, joint managing director of Kohinoor Foods, a leading exporter of the aromatic long-grain rice. Current global prices, he said, are $800-900 a tonne while Pakistan, India's sole rival in the basmati market does not set MEPs.     

Farmers may get Rs 2,250 per quintal of common basmati: Experts

Nov 11, 2011

Farmers may get up to Rs 2,250 per quintal of their common basmati paddy this season, according to experts. The forecast was made by scientists of the Agricultural Economics Department of GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, a university release said. The scientists made the forecast while working on a sub-project, 'Establishing and Networking of Market Intelligence Centres in India', of the National Agriculture Innovation Project.     

Basmati to fetch less, prices 15-20% lower this year

Nov 02, 2011

Basmati growers in Punjab and Haryana are likely to earn less from their produce this season, with rates for the aromatic rice variety ruling 15 to 20 per cent lower than last season on account of oversupply of the crop. Finding "no scope" for any increase in prices of premium varieties of paddy in coming months, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has even asked farmers to sell their basmati crop immediately after harvesting. "Farmers will be the main sufferers this season as prices of basmati crop are ruling low (against last year's rates) because of oversupply of crop," All India Rice Exporters Association President Vijay Setia told PTI today. Rates of much-in-demand basmati variety PUSA 1121 are ruling at Rs 17-18 per kg, as against Rs 20-24 per kg last year. The price of PUSA 1 is hovering around Rs 15 per kg, while its price stood at Rs 19-20 per kg last season.     

Basmati, onion export price may be lowered after request from farmers

Oct 31, 2011

The government will consider lowering minimum export price for Basmati rice and onions, following representations from farmers and traders on the need to boost exports. The panel of secretaries on food will examine the available stocks and domestic prices in its meeting on Monday before making a recommendation, a government official has said. The committee of secretaries will also examine the possibility of allowing export of sugar, including organic sugar to the EU under the quota scheme. The CoS is headed by commerce secretary Rahul Khullar and has representatives from a number of ministries and departments, such as agriculture, food & consumer affairs and finance.     

Indian Basmati paddy prices decline by around 27 percent

Oct 27, 2011

Indian PUSA-1 is the main competitor for Pakistani Super Basmati variety. The price of PUSA-1 Basmati paddy in India has declined by around 27 percent this year versus October 2010 prices. In Pakistani rupees, this is a decline of more than Rs 500 per maund of paddy.Main reason for this decline is the high acreage of total Basmati varieties in India in 2011 and high carryover stocks. This will increase competition for Pakistani Super Basmati variety versus Indian Basmati in the export markets in the current fiscal year.Lower export prices are expected from India. In the fiscal year 2010/2011, Pakistan exported around 1.1 million tons of Basmati rice.     

'MP's climate suitable for Basmati production'

Oct 18, 2011

Strong claim has been presented for registering basmati paddy produced in MP in Geographical Indication area. According to an official release, twenty-two proofs have been presented against the objections raised to the claim, which make it clear that MP's climate is suitable for basmati paddy production and it has been cultivated in a large part of the state since long. It may be mentioned that the responsibility of Geographical Indication Registration has been entrusted to APEDA by the Government of India for increasing food grains export. APEDA has not included MP in the Geographical Indication area of basmati paddy production, which is causing loss to basmati paddy producers of the state.     

Basmati prices may fall 18% on bumper output

Oct 12, 2011

Traders and exporters expect a bumper basmati rice output in the major producing belt (Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pardesh). According to them, prices of basmati rice would be in the range of Rs 17,000-18,000 a tonne, compared to Rs 21,000-22,000 a tonne last year. Traders, exporters and agricultural officials maintain that this year the production would be 10-15 per cent higher. Last year, the total basmati (paddy) production in the country was 6.5 million tonnes (mt), while this year it is expected to be 7.5 mt.     

Thai rice plan could hit global market

Oct 07, 2011

Thailand's new rice policy that aims to pay farmers hefty premium could cost it customers, while making Asia's staple food costlier, say experts. Speculation ahead of the government intervention scheme has already pushed the benchmark rice export price up 30 percent since the end of May to $650 a tonne. It could go far higher, adding to the worries of Asian policymakers already grappling with slower economic growth and rapid inflation. From Friday, Thailand's new government will fulfill a promise that helped Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra win the rural vote and pay millions of its farmers 15,000 baht ($480) a tonne for paddy rice, double the price before the July election.     

India eyeing China, Mexico for basmati rice exports

Oct 04, 2011

India is looking at China, Mexico and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as new markets for its basmati rice, with a view to expand its share of global trade. India exported 2.2 million tonnes of basmati rice to more than 100 countries in the 2010-11 fiscal.The country’s share of the global market for basmati rice is 60 per cent, while Pakistan accounts for the remaining 40 per cent. This high quality rice is mainly grown in these two countries. “India is looking for new international markets for its quality basmati rice in China and Mexico,” a senior official of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) said.     

Basmati rice exporters to gain as rupee weakens

Sep 28, 2011

Basmati exporters hope the rupee stays weak for longer, since the falling currency will fetch them higher margins. However, the weakness is of little use in the short run, since exports contracts are signed months in advance. Although exporters are “keeping a close watch” on the rupee, the current trend may help exporters facing problems due to the payment crisis from Iran, a key export destination for aromatic rice. “Ideally, a weaker rupee helps exporters, but it’s too early to assess the impact as most contracts were signed months back,” said Vijay Setia, president, All India Rice Exporters’ Association. On Tuesday, the rupee closed at at 49.17 against the dollar.     

Rice basmati, non-basmati rises on fresh buying

Sep 14, 2011

Rice basmati and non-basmati prices rose by up to Rs 100 per quintal on the wholesale grains market today on emergence of buying by stockists and retailers. However, barley declined on sluggish demand from consuming industries against adequate stocks. Traders said fresh buying support from stockists and retailers mainly pushed up prices of basmati and non-basmati rice. Sluggish demand from consuming industries against adequate stocks helped barley prices to trade lower, they said.     

Rice output seen at a record 87.1 million tonne this kharif

Sep 14, 2011

The government estimates the country's rice production to touch a record 87.1 million tonnes this kharif season, helped by wide-spread rain and increase in paddy acreage, sources said. The rice output in the last kharif season stood at 80.65 million tonnes. India is aiming to produce a record 102 million tonne of rice in 2011-12 crop year (kharif and rabi), higher than 95.32 million tonne produced in 2010-11. India had achieved a record rice production of 84.91 million tonnes in 2008-09 kharif season. The output, however, has been declining since then.     

Uttarakhand to go for basmati rice model, reduce middlemen

Sep 08, 2011

After declaring a new APMC Act as well as an agriculture policy this year, the Uttarakhand government is now gearing up to break the stranglehold of middlemen in the agriculture and horticulture businesses in order to boost production. “Our main focus now will be to eliminate intermediaries completely from the agriculture sector so that our farmers get better prices,” said agriculture secretary Om Prakash. For this purpose, the government would use the success of the basmati rice model where farmers are getting as high as Rs 37-38 kg from companies like Kohinoor which are procuring paddy directly from them. “We have removed most of the intermediaries from the basmati rice sector by organising a series of farmers’ meets,” said Prakash.     

India remains top rice exporter to Dubai

Sep 06, 2011

India remained the largest rice exporter to Dubai, supplying the emirate with more than Dhone billion worth of rice in the first five months of 2011, nearly 66 per cent of Dubai's total rice imports, official figures have shown. Iran maintained its position as the top market for Dubai's re-exports, including rice, while the United States came second, showed the figures by the Dubai Customs Department, carried by the Arabic language daily 'Al Bayan'. Total rice imports by Dubai, the Middle East's main transshipment centre, stood at around Dh1.7 billion in the first five months of 2011, of which nearly Dh540 worth of rice were re-exported, the figures showed.     

Certify that your basmati doesn’t have bugs: US to India

Sep 02, 2011

Indian rice exporters will have to jump through hoops to get their product into America as customs officials at Chicago’s O’Hare airport were spooked to find Khapra beetle larvae in bags of rice which had traveled from India. “Chicago agriculture specialists working in the O’Hare cargo located two 10 pound bags of rice among a shipment from India of household items and upon examination found a Khapra beetle cast skin and larvae,” Cherise Miles, spokesperson for Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), told Firstpost.     

Call for easing of curbs on non-basmati Rice exports

Sep 01, 2011

The South India Rice Exporters Association has sought relaxation in the norms for export of premium non-basmati rice exports. It has called for augmenting the quantities permitted and also easing port and packaging restrictions. A two-member delegation from the association comprising its President, Mr Naresh Kumar Goel, and Secretary, Mr P. Vishnukmar, met the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Mr Anup Kumar Pujari, and the Joint Secretary in the Department of Commerce, Mr Siddharth, on Tuesday and pleaded for increasing the quantity of premium non-basmati rice exports by at least another one lakh tonnes of sona masuri rice through the Chennai port.     

Indian rice will have to be certified beetle – free to go to US

Aug 30, 2011

A new regulation in India would mean that exporters of rice products to the US will have to get a new pest- free certification for them, an official at the government’s food export body said. According to the official ,who works at the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the new regulation asks for rice exports from India to be certified as free from the khapra beetle. This regulation has come about as a result of a draft Work Plan Agreement that the two countries signed for exports of rice to the US, said the official, who request anonymity, as he is not the official spokesperson.     

Decision on exporting rice, wheat this week

Aug 30, 2011

An empowered group of ministers (eGoM) is expected to meet soon to take a call on the exports of non-basmati rice and wheat. While the eGoM is to decide on the additional quantity of exports of non-basmati rice, it is expected to also arrive at the quantity of wheat that could be allowed for export. Officials said the group could meet sometime this week depending upon the availability of all the members. “There is a possibility that the government allows export of 2 million tonnes of wheat and additional 2 million tonnes of non-basmati rice,” a senior official said.     

Sri Lankan private sector to import entire basmati rice quota from Pakistan

Aug 29, 2011

Sri Lanka has agreed to import the entire basmati rice quota of 6,000 tonnes from Pakistan under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) through the private sector from 2012. The understanding was reached at the end of the 4th technical level meeting on FTA held in Colombo, an official press release said. Pakistan would restore the same level of competitiveness as agreed before for Sri Lankan betel leaves by adjusting the current margin of preference, it said. The two sides noted the friendly ties and the growing commercial relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.     

Beetles sing the blues for Indian basmati in US

Aug 18, 2011

Indians travelling to the US will no longer be able to carry premium rice such as basmati and sona masuri for their friends and relatives there, with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) clamping down on the practice. The USDA has also imposed stringent conditions on rice imports from 22 countries including India following detection of a deadly pest called Khapra beetle in some consignments. The beetle, which can survive for long without food or much moisture, was found in many consignments from these countries during the last few months.     

Rice exporters body demands review of export notification

Jul 21, 2011

The All-India Rice Exporters' Association (AIREA) has flayed the Commerce Ministry's procedures for exports of 10 lakh tonnes (lt) of non-basmati rice, asking exporters to submit applications within the next two days. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), on Tuesday, issued the notification permitting export of 10 lt of rice from privately held stocks, i.e. sourced from the open market. The 10 lt quantity is to be allocated among individual exporters on a first-come-first-serve basis, subject to a cap of 12,500 tonnes for each applicant.     

Basmati exports to Iraq seen rising 30%

Jul 18, 2011

With Iraq turning out to be an emerging market for basmati rice, the country’s exporters are eyeing an over 30 per cent jump in overseas aromatic rice shipments to 3 million tonnes in the current fiscal. “Iraq is proving to be an emerging market for basmati rice export and if the demand continues to rise from this country, our total export may touch the figure of 3 mt this season,” the All-India Rice Exporters Association President, Mr Vijay Setia, told PTI today.     

Lean is in

Jul 15, 2011

Amid fluctuating prices, basmati is yet again set to continue its march this kharif. Now exported to over 100 countries, the premium rice variety is expected to see a significant 10 per cent jump in country’s basmati hub, Punjab and Haryana, and other major basmati producing states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, J&K and Himachal. According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) of the Union Ministry of Commerce, the area and yield of basmati varieties has been witnessing a steady jump in recent years.     

Global demand lifts basmati exports by 27% despite Iran payment issues

Jul 13, 2011

India's April-June basmati rice exports have grown from 5.5 lakh tonnes last fiscal to 7 lakh tonnes this fiscal, an increase of 27.3%, according to data from the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda). The increase comes despite continuing payment issues with Iran, the country’s largest basmati customer. In the last financial year, Iran and Saudi Arabia together accounted for half of all basmati shipped from India.     

Govt allows exports of 1m tonnes of non-basmati rice

Jul 12, 2011

The government today allowed exports of one million tonnes of non-basmati rice, lifting an over three-year old ban, in the wake of overflowing godowns. The decision to this effect was taken by an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. "The EGoM has decided to allow exports of one million tonnes of non-basmati rice but a decision on allowing wheat exports has been deferred," a source said after the meeting.The ban on non-basmati rice was imposed in April 2008 because of high food inflation. Wheat exports have been prohibited since 2007.     

Basmati acreage to expand 15%; traders hopeful of higher prices

Jul 12, 2011

Basmati acreage is expected to expand 15% this season in Punjab , Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as sowing gets underway. Exporters , traders and farmers are hopeful of basmati benefiting from the spillover effect of top exporter Thailand's assurance of a 25% higher prices to its farmers and traders. India exported over 2.2 million tonne basmati rice last season, according to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. All India Rice Exporters Association president Vijay Setia said, "The area under basmati is expected to increase with farmers getting better price realisation ." He added that the area under traditional and evolved basmati varieties was 15 lakh hectare in 2010-11 .     

Credit sales hit rice exporters

Jun 14, 2011

Since 2006-07 , rice exporters and traders have been paying buyers abroad to purchase the best known aromatic rice variety in the world, the Basmati. The practice is threatening to dent the bottom lines of some big exporters now, making them jittery ahead of the new marketing season and forcing them to look anew at home markets. Top basmati exporters to West Asia, mainly Iran, began selling on credit since 2006, the year in which the non-traditional Pusa 1121 variety was officially designated a Basmati variety.     

Bumper basmati crop not good news for exporters

Jun 02, 2011

The bumper production of basmati rice in the major producing belt (Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pardesh) has undermined the bargaining power of basmati exporters, as they face payment hurdles from buyers in Iran and West Asia.The recognition of PUSA 1121, as one of the basmati variety in November, 2008, has helped in the higher production. According to Gaurav Bhatia, secretary, All India Rice Exporters Association and director DD International Private Limited, the high yield and low irrigation requirement of PUSA 1121 has encouraged many farmers to adopt this crop. The variety became popular in the export market in a short-span but its over-supply has affected the bargaining power of exporters.     

Record rice crop may let India end export ban, capping cost

Jun 01, 2011

Rice production in India, the second- largest grower, may climb as much as 7 percent to a record as normal monsoon rains spur planting, likely helping the country ease export curbs and potentially limiting global food costs. Output of monsoon-sown rice may advance to 86 million metric tons in the 2011-2012 season starting June 1 from 80.4 million tons this year, said Tarsem Saini, president of the Federation of All India Rice Millers Association, in a phone interview from the Indian city of Patiala yesterday.     

Commodities Buzz: India 2010-11 Basmati Exports Rebound Despite First Half Fall

Apr 27, 2011

India's basmati rice exports likely rose by up to 15% in the fiscal year which ended March 31 after recovering from a fall in the initial six months, the head of the state-run farm exports body said. India, the world's largest basmati supplier, exported 2 million metric tons in the 2009-10 fiscal years. India is the world's top producer and exporter of aromatic, premium basmati rice, and neighboring Pakistan is its main rival.Basmati exports were in negative territory until Octoberbut the basmati trade has been very active in the last three months, Asit Tripathy, chairman of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, said.     

Basmati rice exported from J&K: Mir

Mar 29, 2011

About 63 tonnes of Basmati rice have been exported to different countries including USA and Middle East for the first time from J&K. This information was given by the Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Hassan in Legislative Council today while replying to a question by Ajay Kumar Sadhotra. The Minister said that Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Commerce, has issued notification on August 17, 2010 allowing the export of high grade Basmati rice grown in Jammu region of the Ste.     

APEDA to promote Indian basmati rice at IGI airport

Mar 17, 2011

To promote Indian basmati rice brand, agri-products export promotion body APEDA has invited bids for installation of advertising hoardings at Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, which is the sixth largest in the world. "This location (Terminal 3 of IGI airport) should attract maximum attention of the relevant audience to help further build Indian Basmati Rice as a brand," the Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) said on its website.     

Pakistan's Rice exports cross $1bn in 7-mth FY11

Feb 09, 2011

Rice exports of the country have surpassed $1 billion during the first seven months of the current fiscal year (FY 2011), figures released by Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan said Tuesday. According to the figures, rice exports showing an increase of 5 percent have gone up to $1.2 billion during 7MFY-11, as compared to $1.14 billion in the corresponding period last year. Although the rice exported is less in quantity, as 2 million metric tonnes has been exported in the said period compared with 2.3 million metric tonnes last year — but because of better average unit price of rice, the value is high, Irfan Ahmed Sheikh told Daily Times. The average unit price stands at $548 as compared to $492 last year, he said.     

Despite shaky start, Basmati exports could match last year’s record

Nov 19, 2010

Basmati rice exports is expected to match last year’s level of 2.2 million tonne, an official with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) on Thursday said. Exports till now have been down despite absence of rival Pakistan from the market on account of unprecedented floods. Most traders and agencies are sitting on comfortable stocks. “There is substantial build up of basmati rice stocks in the supply chains which slowed down the exports in initial months,” an APEDA official told FE. The official said there are more than three channels involved before the aromatic rice actually reaches consumers abroad. Nevertheless exports have shown signs of picking up in the last two months and by the time the year ends they would match last year’s figure.     

Farmers stop 'secret' GM rice

Nov 18, 2010

After Bt brinjal, it is the genetically modified rice that has started facing heat from the farming community. Right in the backyard of Bangalore, a GM rice field trial is being carried out on one of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) farms. Local farmers on Wednesday destroyed the paddy grown on the farm and set fire to some stacks to show their resistance to GM rice. Farmers of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) have been opposing genetically modified crops for a long time and are demanding seed independence.     

Philippines May Import Rice in Early 2011, Cuts Rice Output Goal

Nov 15, 2010

The Philippines, the world’s biggest rice importer, may hold tenders for the grain in the first quarter of 2011, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said in a press briefing today. The Southeast Asian nation, which imported a record 2.47 million metric tons for this year, cut its rice production forecast this year to 16.02 million tons from 16.24 million tons due to storms that damaged crops. It’s still reviewing the volume, mechanics and timing of rice imports, Alcala said.     

Global rice strategy to aid the poor

Nov 12, 2010

Global rice researchers have agreed to step up co-operation in an effort to lower food prices and lift tens of millions out of poverty, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said on Thursday. The initiative was launched in Hanoi on Wednesday at a global conference of rice researchers, traders and policymakers.     

India's Rice Exports To Bangladesh Delayed Over Pricing

Nov 12, 2010

The export of 300,000 tons of rice from India to Bangladesh has stalled as Bangladesh has sought a discount on the proposed sale price, complicating approvals for the shipment, Indian government officials said. Bangladesh has asked India to supply common grades of parboiled rice at slightly below $491.8 a ton--the price at which it bought from the international market in mid-October. State-run Indian trading agencies sought government approval to sell the rice at $486.8 a ton. The request from Bangladesh has put the Indian government in a dilemma as it will have to sell way below the prevailing global price of $520-$540 a ton, and may also have to absorb some procurement costs.     

High Rupee May Hurt Basmati Exports

Nov 12, 2010

India's basmati rice exports in the current fiscal year through March 2011 are likely to fall between 5% and 7% from last year, as a rise in the rupee's value to the dollar has increased the export price, industry officials said. A rice vendor fills a small paper packet with basmati rice in Calcutta, India. The stronger currency, which rose 4.6% since Aug.1, has dashed India's hopes that it will be able to increase its rice export this year.     

Rice traders worried about Iran ban proposal

Sep 14, 2010

A proposed Iranian ban on rice and other food products’ imports will help arrest the increase in basmati rice price which has been under pressure due to the severe flood in the rice belts of Pakistan and India. Rice traders in the UAE said that reports of a ban by Iran on rice imports will affect domestic rice price in the GCC and cause the market to be flooded with oversupply. The Iranian Agricultural Ministry is considering raising import tariffs on 15 agricultural items but did not say which ones The Iranian government announced the ban on import of several agricultural products including rice, until December.     

Share prices of basmati firms skyrocket

Sep 10, 2010

Share prices of food processing firms, especially basmati rice exporting companies, have seen a huge jump this week. Shares of these firms, that mainly fall in the small-and mid-cap categories, have gained between 8% to 39% since September 6, against 3% gain in the BSE Sen sex. The biggest gainer has been Delhi-based KRBL, which has surged almost 40% in just four trading sessions. Market players attribute these phenomenal gains to a number of reasons. Investors have been buying these stocks with expectations that India’s exports of basmati rice will get a boost due to crop damage in flood-hit Pakistan. India and Pakistan are major exporters of basmati rice, and as per KRBL management, the prices have gone up by $100-125 per tone in the global market. Indian exporters are shipping basmati rice at the minimum export price of $900 per tone. It expects profits to rise by at least 20%. Meanwhile, normal monsoon has also increased interest in basmati rice stocks with its production expected to touch record-high.     

Basmati export up on Pakistan floods

Sep 08, 2010

Indian basmati exports get a leg-up as flood-hit top rival Pakistan all but exits the world market. India exports around 3.2 million tone basmati mainly to Europe and the Middle East and often finds it hard to compete against cheaper basmati from Pakistan. The neighbors exclusively produce aromatic basmati which was once the world’s most expensive rice. “Indian basmati exporters have got a good opportunity. We will get export orders of over 2 lakh tone forwarded from Pakistan for the year ahead. There was a spate of buying in August by traders which led to a marginal increase in the prices,” said Dinesh Gupta, MD, Best Food International. The company was India’s second largest exporter of basmati in 2009-10 shipping 1.5 lakh tone. He added that prices were expected to remain firm owing to an increase in demand in the market and a fall in India production in the month ahead. As per industry estimates, the prices of Pusa and Pusa 1121 have increased by $30 to $70 in the last one month. Basmati traditional was being quoted at $4,300 per tone from $3,700 per tone in June. However, with a carry-forward stock of over 3 crore bags of 50 kg each, there has been no exponential increase in prices this year, said traders. A recent United States Department of Agriculture report states that Pakistan’s rice output is expected to decline by nearly 40% in 2010-11 to 2.3 million tones Traders said major orders from international companies would come in October and November.