Agri Business

Basmati exports at a new high on robust Iranian purchases

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on May 03, 2019

Dairy, pulses exports rose, while buffalo meat, non-basmati rice shipments fell in 2018-19


Shipments of basmati rice, the largest product in the country’s farm-export basket, touched a record high in volumes and rupee value terms in 2018-19 on account of aggressive buying by Iran and a weak currency.

Volumes grew by about a tenth to over 4.41 million tonnes (mt) over the previous year, while the export value, in rupee terms, grew 22 per cent to touch ₹32,806 crore.

In dollar terms, basmati exports went up by 13 per cent to $4.71 billion — the second highest since 2013-14, when it touched a record $4.88 billion.


AK Gupta, Director, Basmati Export Development Foundation, attributed the record shipments to robust purchases by Iran.

“There was some good demand from Iran after a couple of years. Iran purchased over 1.4 million tonnes during the year,” Gupta said.

Further, a weak rupee helped the growth in basmati shipments to touch a new high in value terms.

Basmati accounted for a fourth of India’s overall agri-product 2018-19 exports, which grew 7 per cent in rupee value terms to touch ₹1.28 lakh crore from ₹1.19 lakh crore in the previous year.

However, in dollar terms, total agri-exports were down 1.15 per cent at $18.38 billion ($18.60 billion).

The dip in dollar revenues was mainly on account of a decline in shipments of buffalo meat, non-basmati rice and groundnut, among others.

Non-basmati rice struggles

Non-basmati rice shipments were hurt by higher pricing. The increase in the minimum support price for paddy during the year impacted the competitiveness of the grain in the world market.

As a result, exports registered a 17.52-per cent decline in dollar terms and 11 per cent in rupee terms. The non-basmati volumes dropped around 14 per cent to 7.53 mt (8.81 mt).

Sluggish demand from China and the countries in the Far East impacted the shipments of buffalo meat, which dropped to 1.23 mt (1.35 mt).

In dollar terms, buffalo meat shipments stood at $3.58 billion ($4.03 billion).

Dairy, pulses up

Exports of dairy products jumped 76 per cent to 1.80 lakh tonnes (1.02 lakh tonnes) after the Centre announced incentives to ship out the surplus stocks of the skimmed milk powder during the year.

In dollar terms, dairy product exports registered 59 per cent surge in growth at $482 million.

Similarly, pulses exports grew 59 per cent to exceed 2.85 lt during 2018-19.

However, in value terms, shipments were up by only 13.38 per cent on a decline in average prices.

Guar gum shipments, too, posted 4.3-per cent growth during the year, while groundnut exports declined on account of poor offtake from buyers such as Vietnam.

Shipments of poultry products also registered a growth during the year.

In dollar terms, the poultry exports were up 14.54 per cent at $98 million ($86 million). In rupee terms, the poultry exports increased by a fourth to ₹687 crore (₹552 cr).

Though shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables were up in volumes, the value declined by about 4 per cent, primarily on account of dip in per unit pricing.


Published on May 03, 2019

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like