Agri Business

Centre sets up new body to promote rice exports

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on May 12, 2020

To give further impetus to rice exports, the Centre has set up a new body – Rice Export Promotion Forum (REPF), under the aegis of the Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Promotion Development Authority (Apeda).

Rice, both basmati and non-basmati variety, is the largest commodity in India’s agri-export basket. Shipments stood at $7.77 billion in 2018-19, with basmati exports at $4.72 billion and non-basmati at $3.05 billion. Final export figures for 2019-20 are yet to be released by Apeda.

“Considering the importance of export of rice, its inherent potentials and the multifarious issues, which are faced in the process, it is decided to constitute a Rice Export Promotion Forum,” an Apeda notification said.

Stakeholders

The new body will comprise representatives from the rice industry, exporters, officials from Apeda, Commerce Ministry, Agriculture Ministry and Directors of Agriculture from major rice producing states such as West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

“The EPF will make concerted efforts to identify, document particulars and reach out to stakeholders across the entire production/ supply chain of export of rice for increasing these exports significantly to the global market, through various interventions,” the notification said.

EPF will monitor, identify and anticipate developments pertaining to production and exports and recommend necessary policy measures. It will be in touch with rice producers, exporters and other relevant stakeholders and hear their problems, and facilitate, support and provide solutions to them.

Competitive edge

The move assumes significance as rice is the only agri-commodity from India currently that maintained its competitiveness in the overseas market. The exports of other grains such as wheat and maize are unviable due to the higher production costs.

India, the second largest produce of rice in the world, has been the largest exporter of the cereal after the shipments of the non-basmati were allowed from 2011.

India’s production has been going up steadily over the past several years. From around 96 million tonnes in 2010-11, rice production is seen touching a record 117.47 million tonnes in 2019-20, per Second Advance Estimates.

Published on May 12, 2020

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