Rice traders demand flat export duty on parboiled rice

Kolkata, Oct 15 (PTI) Rice exporters have requested the Centre for a flat export duty of USD 80 per tonne for parboiled rice instead of the current 20 per cent duty to smoothen trade, a top official of the rice exporters’ umbrella body said on Sunday.

The Indian Rice Exporters Federation (IREF) has also requested the government to reconsider its export ban on white rice which was imposed in July and reduction in the minimum export price for basmati rice to USD 850 per tonne to prevent negative impacts on both export volumes and farmers.

On Friday, the government had extended the 20 per cent duty on parboiled rice exports until March 24.

“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,” IREF national president Prem Garg told PTI.

The federation wants a dialogue with the government to reconsider the ban on white rice, he added.

IREF also expects the government to release a notification for basmati rice proposing a minimum export price of USD 850 per tonne in contrast to the current rate of USD 1,200 per tonne.

The annual non-basmati rice export value from India exceeds Rs 50,000 crore.

These export restrictions have been imposed by the government to ensure adequate stock of rice and to control food inflation.

Garg noted that the export restrictions have led to a 30 per cent increase in rice prices in the international market, benefiting competing countries like Pakistan and Thailand.

IREF director general Sanjeev Ahuja said 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, he added.

Out of the 22 million tonnes, 5 million tonnes are basmati rice, while the rest comprises white and parboiled rice.

The exporters’ body expects that if the government restrictions continue, export volumes will be impacted this year.

Garg emphasized that farmers are under pressure due to reduced demand from exporters. The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh has criticised the timing of the export ban announcement, stating that it sends a negative signal to farmers during the current planting season.

IREF, which is just 100 days old and has 4,000 members, said they successfully resolved the issue with the government by clearing 90,000 tonnes of white rice in transit to export destinations after the ban announcement. These shipments were previously stuck at various ports, according to officials. PTI BSM MNB

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