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India gains edge in par-boiled rice market

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One lakh tonnes contracted for exports since January

M.R. Subramani

Bullish trend


African nations

have turned out to be the biggest buyers of Indian par-boiled rice with most shipments going to Nigeria and South Africa.

Chennai, March 27

India is enjoying an advantage in the African market for par-boiled rice with the Thailand Government's domestic intervention programme pushing up prices there and duty advantage in Nigeria making consignments from New Delhi competitive.

At least, one lakh tonnes of par-boiled rice have been contracted for exports since the beginning of this year with most of the shipments taking place from Kakinada.

"Indian par-boiled rice is selling $20-25 a tonne lower than Thailand's offer," said trade sources. India and Thailand are the only nations which export par-boiled rice.

On Monday, Thailand offered its par-boiled rice at $298 a tonne, while India quoted $270.

African nations have turned out to be the biggest buyers of Indian par-boiled rice with most shipments going to Nigeria and South Africa.

"The market is very good for our rice and the trends are bullish," the sources said.

According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda), non-basmati rice exports, including par-boiled, increased to 28.32 lakh tonnes valued at Rs 2,962.16 crore during April-November of the current fiscal. This is against shipments of 15.28 lakh tonnes valued at Rs 1,660.51 crore during the same period a year ago.

However, the unit value realisation has declined to Rs 10,000 a tonne from Rs 11,000 tonne.

Enough quantity

According to the trade sources, enough quantity of par-boiled rice was available with carryover from the kharif crop and a good rabi crop in the offing. Also, there is better acceptability of rice from the South such as IR26 and IR64 in the global market, making things look better.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, rabi rice sowing this year is 47.48 lakh hectares, up 9.64 lakh hectares over last year. Kharif rice production has been estimated up at 73.83 million tonnes against 71.67 million tonnes last year. On the other hand, the Centre's procurement of kharif rice has increased to 211.40 lakh tonnes from 191.02 lakh tonnes last year.

White rice market

Meanwhile, Pakistan and Vietnam continue to be competitive in the white rice market than India.

"But things could change in course of time. The prices of white rice in general are rising. In the last couple of years, the rates are up 25 per cent," the sources said. "We will have surplus to export and we should get a share of the market once Pakistan and Vietnam run out of stocks," they said.

In the global market, 25 per cent broken white rice from Thailand was quoted at $268 a tonne, while from Vietnam it ruled at $250. Pakistan offered the same variety at $215, while the Indian price is $236.

While Pakistan targets West Asia and neighbouring countries, Vietnam has access to nearby markets such as Indonesia and the Philippines.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 28, 2006)
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