Basmati exporters' profits have surged for the June quarter over the corresponding period last year on higher shipments and prices. Almost all large players saw a significant growth in their topline mainly due to robust demand from traditional markets in West Asia and also aided by a weaker rupee.

The profits of KRBL Ltd, the country’s largest basmati exporter, more than doubled to Rs 56.60 crore for the June quarter on higher overseas demand. Another large exporter, LT Foods Ltd, also saw profits double to Rs 7.72 crore. But, Kohinoor Foods' profits dipped by a fourth on account of higher finance costs and other expenses. “Our profits could have been higher, but for the forex losses of Rs 16.95 crore,” said Anil Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director of

KRBL, which owns the India Gate brand. Mittal expects the export

demand led by key buyer Iran, to remain strong in the year-ahead.

“The price of basmati is $1,000-1,500 a tonne for different varieties this year, while last year it was close to $800-900 a tonne,” said Vijay Arora, Chairman and Managing Director, LT Foods Ltd.

“Iran is coming up as a big importer and we are now scouting for new markets in the world. We have also signed up few distribution partnerships in Africa, which will further increase our sales in international markets,” Arora said in a statement.

The country’s basmati shipments in 2011-12 surged 45 per cent to touch a record 3.21 million tonnes against 2.18 mt in the previous year. In value terms, the exports for fiscal 2012 were up 46 per cent at Rs 15,450 crore against Rs 9,600 crore.

The Government’s recent move to scrap minimum export price, resumption of direct shipments to Iran — the largest market — and China’s decision to import Indian basmati could further accelerate the export of the aromatic rice.

Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were the large three markets for the Indian basmati during 2011-12.

(This article was published on August 20, 2012)
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