Agri Business

S. Indian rice exporters urge Govt to resume export of non-basmati rice soon

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 26, 2011 Published on February 26, 2011

A worker feels fresh milled rice. File Photo - P. V. SIVAKUMAR   -  Business Line



The South India Rice Exporters Association has urged the Government to expedite the partial lifting of ban on export of premium non-basmati rice varieties. In a communication to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the association has forwarded a set of suggestions to ensure that export of varieties such as Ponni, Rose matta and Sona masuri rice is allowed without further delay, as exporters are sustaining heavy losses over the protracted ban that has been in place since April 2008, when the trade was exporting two lakh tonnes annually. The association has expressed concern over the announcement of modalities for exporting 1.5 lakh tonnes of premium non-basmati rice at a minimum export price of $850 a tonne decided a couple of weeks ago by a Group of Ministers.

The association said it is crucial to monitor the quality of rice being exported as these were speciality varieties from the South. For this, the maximum length of the grain must be fixed as 5.5 mm for reference. This would ensure that other common rice varieties do not get exported from our shores. As for matta rice, it is easily identified by its red colour. Again, as the premium varieties of non-basmati rice are grown only in South India, and shipped only from Chennai and Cochin ports, port restrictions would let the exporters ship just the premium ones. This is also in line with the Government's policy of shipping basmati rice only from the North Indian ports, it said.

Stating that the cargo should be shipped in container only rather than break-bulk, it said this way it would avoid the export of common rice varieties, and ensure the export of premium non-basmati rice only.

Further, it said, most of the premium non-basmati is packed and exported in consumer-packs of one, two and five kg only. So, if packing restrictions are imposed, it would ensure the export of only quality rice, as packing other common varieties is impracticable because of its cost.

>geeyes@thehindu.co.in

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Published on February 26, 2011
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