Agri Business

Demand turns premium ‘Gobindobhog’ rice pricey

Shobha Roy Kolkata | Updated on September 06, 2019 Published on September 06, 2019

Driven by the prospect of higher earnings, more farmers are turning to this rice variety   -  Debasish Bhaduri

Production also likely to be lower because of late sowing

Prices of Bengal’s premium variety of aromatic rice, Gobindobhog, has firmed up by nearly 27 per cent on a year-on-year basis, backed by a good demand from both domestic and international markets.

Prices firm up

The average price of Gobindobhog paddy at the farmers’ end firmed up by nearly 27 per cent at ₹3,800 a quintal in August this year, compared with ₹3,000 in the same period last year.

The price was ruling at around ₹2,800 a quintal in January this year. It, however, started to strengthen steadily following good demand from Bangladesh and the markets in South India.

Gobindobhog is a non-Basmati type indigenous aromatic rice from West Bengal. The paddy variety, which got the GI (Geographical Indication) status in August 2017, is primarily cultivated in East Burdwan district in the Raina 1, Raina 2 and Khandaghosh blocks.

The price of the rice at the miller’s point is hovering around ₹6,400 a quintal, as against ₹5,100 a quintal in same period last year.

“Currently, only 30 per cent of the 2019 crop is left with farmers as huge stocks were exported to Bangladesh and other countries in this season. Also, delayed rain has affected production in 2020 season,” Suraj Agarwal, CEO, Tirupati Agri Trade, told BusinessLine.

Rise in acreage

The increase in prices is despite the fact that the State witnessed a 17 per cent rise in production of Gobindobhog paddy this year.

Close to 2.8 lakh tonnes of Gobindobhog paddy was produced in 2018-19, as against 2.4 lakh tonnes in 2017-18. Nearly 55-56 per cent of this is converted into rice.

Driven by the prospect of earning more, farmers in Bengal have taken to cultivating Gobindobhog. The area under cultivation, which was close to 35 hectares in 2016-17, has increased to 51 hectares in 2018-19.

Farmers cultivating this variety stand to earn ₹2,000 a bag (of 60 kg) or close to ₹3,300 a quintal, compared with ₹800-900 a bag (of 60 kg) or ₹1,500 a quintal for the common Swarna variety.

There is an apprehension that the production of Gobindobhog paddy will be lower this year on account of the delayed rain during the sowing season in June-July. The new crop begins to arrive by November-end or early December.

“Farmers have been holding on to stock in anticipation of prices firming up further. The old crop fetches a higher price than the new crop, particularly in the southern markets,” a miller said.

The prices are likely to remain firm till the new crop begins to arrive in the market.

“We expect miller's price of GobindoBhog rice to touch ₹70 a kg before the new crop comes in by November-end,” Agarwal said.

Published on September 06, 2019

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