With food inflation hitting a 39-month high in July 2023, the Centre is not in a position to reconsider the recent export ban on non-basmati rice as ensuring food security within the country remains top priority, top officials have said.

“A decision to roll back the export ban on rice can be taken sometime in the future only after duly assessing  production, procurement, food stock and domestic prices. Right now the situation is not such that a roll back can be considered especially with food inflation still high. Ensuring food security of our people is the first priority,” an official tracking the matter told businessline.

However, India is also not oblivious to the needs of other countries as G2G (government-to-government) supplies of rice to needy countries continues on the basis of requests made by them, the official added.

While retail inflation in July 2023 spiked to 7.44 per cent (from 4.87 per cent in June), food inflation during the month was 11.51 per cent and inflation in cereals was at 13.04 per cent, per Consumer Price Index Numbers released by the government on Monday.

On July 20 2023, the government had imposed an export ban on non-basmati rice in response to a sharp rise in domestic rice prices. The export ban has led to concerns globally as India accounts for about 40 per cent of the international trade in rice and stopping supplies could lead to a rise in world prices of the cereal.

But the government is more worried about domestic prices of rice. Earlier this month, the Centre announced that it will sell an additional 50 lakh tonnes of wheat and 25 lakh tonnes of rice from the central pool in the open market to check rising prices.

“The measures taken by the government to cool prices of cereals have not yet shown results. Hopefully going forward the situation will be more in control as the moves get fully implemented,” the official said.