Rice exporters urged the Indian government to impose a flat export duty of $80 per tonne for parboiled rice, instead of the current 20 per cent duty to ease trade, an official at the Indian Rice Exporters Federation (IREF) said on Sunday. The association also requested the Centre to reconsider it’s white rice export ban, imposed in July, and called for a reduction in the minimum export price for basmati rice to $850 per tonne to avoid negative impact on export volumes and farmers.
Last week on Friday, the government stated that the 20 per cent duty on parboiled rice exports was extended till March 24. IREF’s national president, Prem Garg, said, “We request the government to replace the 20 per cent export duty with a fixed USD 80 per tonne export duty. This will eliminate ambiguity and invoicing issues in rice trade. The federation wants a dialogue with the government to reconsider the ban on white rice,” as reported by PTI.
Garg noted that the IREF expects the government to come out with a notification for basmati rice suggesting a minimum export price of $850 per tonne, against the current rate of $1,200 per tonne. Notably, the annual non-basmati rice export from India stands at over Rs 50,000 crore. These export restrictions have been put in place by the government to ensure sufficient stock and to keep a tab on food prices.
Garg further said that these restrictions have caused a 30 per cent increase in rice prices in the global market, which has benefited competing nations like Pakistan and Thailand. IREF director, Sanjeev Ahuja, added, “The world’s largest rice exporter accounts for approximately 46 per cent of total rice exports, amounting to around 22 million tonnes annually.However, only 6.9 million tonnes have been exported so far.” Out of these 22 million tonnes, basmati rice account for 5 million tonnes, while the rest comprise of white and parboiled rice. The federation stated that if the restrictions are allowed to continue, it will have an impact on export volumes this year.
Garg noted that farmers are facing pressure as a result of weakened demand from exporters. The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh further criticised the export ban announcement, stating that it sends forward a negative signal to farmers during the current planting season.
IREF, comprising 4,000 members, stated that it has successfully solved the issue with the government by clearing 90,000 tonnes of white rice in transit to export destinations after the ban was announced. Earlier, these shipments were stuck at various ports.