The government on Friday allowed the export of three varieties of non-basmati rice grown in the southern states in anticipation of bumper crop production this year.

Partially lifting a three-year old ban, the government has permitted exports of ‘Ponni Samba’ and ‘Matta’ varieties of basmati, subject to a cap of 25,000 tonnes each, while shipments of ‘Sona Masuri’ have been permitted with a cap of 1,00,000 tonnes, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.

“Certain varieties of rice (Sona Masuri, Ponni Samba and Matta) are permitted to be exported with a limit on quantity of export for the KMS (Kharif Marketing Season), 2010-11,” the DGFT said, adding that the export ban continues on other varieties.

Exemptions from the export ban would also be contingent upon the value of shipments exceeding $850 per tonne.

These varieties are grown in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, rice production will rise to 94 million tonnes in the 2010-11 crop year from 89 million tonnes in the previous year.

The DGFT, an arm of the Commerce Ministry responsible for export and import-related matters, said that overseas shipment of two varieties of onions has also been permitted, subject to a licence.

“The export of Bangalore Rose onions and Krishnapuram onions is now restricted and their export shall be permitted under licence,” it said, adding that the ban on exports of other varieties of onions will continue.

The government had banned the export of onions early this January to rein in soaring onion prices, which touched Rs 70-85 per kg on December 21, 2010, in retail markets of major metros.

The decisions were taken on Wednesday by an Empowered Group of Ministers headed by the Finance Minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee.

(This article was published on February 11, 2011)
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