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Tuesday, Feb 26, 2002

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ITC ready to export rice in a big way

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GUNTUR, Feb. 25

THE international business division of the ITC is willing to take up rice exports on a large scale if the Food Corporation of India (FCI) agrees to waive the one per cent market cess on paddy, as it is proving to be uneconomical, Mr S. Sivakumar, Chief Executive of the company, has said.

He was addressing the press here on Saturday after opening the aqua care laboratory of the ITC-IBD. He said such export incentives should be given to farmers to get a good price. Boiled rice from Punjab was found to be superior to AP rice in quality and it was being exported. He said the international business division was exporting rice, wheat, aqua products, fruits and oils from 14 States and total turnover amounted to Rs 750 crore.

He said the IBD would export wheat from Kakinada deepwater port in the near future. However, it was proving to be more economical to undertake exports through Visakhapatnam or Chennai than Kakinada and the fledgling port would have to go a long way still.

Mr Sivakumar said the IBD had set up the aqua laboratory at Kakinada for seed testing and other sophisticated tests to prevent the spread of disease, as most of the hatcheries in the State were situated in and around the town. The division had spent Rs 35 lakhs on settin up the lab and the farmers and hatcheries could make use of it for a small fee of Rs 1200. PCR (polymer chain reaction) tests and other tests would be conducted and the documented results would be given in a matter of six hours or so. He said the division was spending Rs 100 crore in the State on promoting aquaculture.

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