Rising demand, declining rupee boost shipments to ₹28,189 cr

Basmati rice exports have doubled in volume and tripled in value in the last four years on strong demand from traditional markets in Iran and West Asia.

For the fiscal ended March 2014, shipments of basmati scaled a new high, touching 4.02 million tonnes and exceeded $4.5 billion in terms of value compared with the previous fiscal.

Apart from increased demand, higher prices aided by a decline in rupee boosted basmati shipments to ₹28,189 crore, a 48 per cent growth over last year.

Though exports of non-basmati rice grew 4 per cent in value to ₹14,479 crore in 2013-14, in volume they were down some 4 per cent.

Total rice shipments grew 3.5 per cent to 10.5 million tonnes.

Eyeing China

“India continued to be the largest rice exporter for the third year in a row,” said R Sundaresan, Executive Director, All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA).

The rice exporter’s body is targeting a 10 per cent growth in shipments in the current year. “We are trying hard to gain access to the Chinese market,” Sundaresan said. Iran was the largest buyer of Indian basmati, followed by Saudi Arabia and Iraq during the year. This growth in demand was despite higher prices.

Basmati prices were higher by 50-70 per cent in 2013-14 over last year on higher paddy prices.

Iran imported over 1.4 million tonnes, followed by Saudi Arabia which bought 7.1 lakh tonnes and Iraq over two lakh tonnes.

Non-traditional markets

“Rising consumption in West Asia, estimated at around 10 per cent annually, is driving the demand for Indian basmati,” said Anil Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director, KRBL Ltd, the country’s largest exporter.

Apart from Iran, countries such as the US, Iraq, Afghanistan and African nations, such as Ghana, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast, have been buying more of Indian basmati to cater to their growing demand, Mittal said.

New variety

Further, with the increase in adoption of newer variety 1590, which is considered farmer-friendly because of its high yields and disease-resistance characteristics, basmati production is poised for a big jump in production in coming years, Mittal said.

African demand

Non-basmati rice continued to witness strong demand from African countries.

Republic of Benin in West Africa was the largest buyer of Indian non-basmati rice, followed by Senegal, Bangladesh and South Africa.

Benin imported about 1.14 million tonnes, followed by Senegal at 6.2 lakh tonnes.

(This article was published on April 15, 2014)
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