New Delhi: India will review a ban on the shipment of non-basmati rice in the first week of February and may also provide some relief to basmati exporters.
“As far as non-basmati rice is concerned, we have not decided on it so far. We will decide on it after assessing the stock position and crop situation in the first week of February,” agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said here today.
However, Pawar said he, along with commerce minister Kamal Nath, would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss issues relating to the exports of basmati rice.
“About basmati, I think we need to provide some support. I and the commerce minister will talk to the Prime Minister on this issue and take a decision,” Pawar said.
The Centre had in April last year imposed a ban on the exports of non-basmati rice and levied shipment duty on basmati rice, apart from raising the MEP by $200 a tonne to contain the price rise.
With inflation declining to 5.91% for the week ended 27 December from a peak of 12.91% in August last year and the country’s exports showing negative growth, the time seems conducive for government to discuss the matter now.
Basmati exporters have since been demanding that the duty of Rs8,000 on the shipment of a tonne of the aromatic rice be scrapped and the minimum export price of $1,200 a tonne be reduced.
The duty on basmati export have made India uncompetitive as rival Pakistan is selling the aromatic rice at a price cheaper by around $500 a tonne. Pakistan has cornered orders to the tune of 1,00,000 tonnes from European buyers this year, market sources said.
India normally exports 2,90,000 tonnes of basmati rice to Europe, while Pakistan sells about 30,000 tonnes in a year.