The ban on exports of non-basmati white rice may not last long as the concerns about the standing crop has eased, according to major exporters.Anil Kumar Mittal, chairman and managing director of KRBL, one of the major rice exporters, on Tuesday said: “Monsoon rains have been adequate so far and kharif paddy sowing has surpassed last year’s level and the government might lift the white rice exports ban soon.”He noted that global agencies such as International Monetary Fund and Food and Agriculture Organisation have urged India to lift restriction in white rice export as it has pushed global rice prices sharply.After the procurement of paddy commences, the government would realistically assess the supply situation by December and consider lifting the ban on white rice shipment,” V Krishna Rao, president, Rice Exporters Association, a body of non-basmati exporters, said. He said that because of the rice exports ban, India’s competitors such as Vietnam and Thailand have hiked their grain prices.Mittal said that domestic rice prices have increased by 15% in the last four months and with higher acreage, the prices are expected to fall by September and October as harvesting of kharif would commence.Rice has been transplanted in 28.3 million hectare till August 4, which is 3.4% more on-year. As on August 1, the Food Corporation of India had rice stocks of 37.64 million tonne (MT) which includes 13.01 MT of grain to be received from millers, which is far above the buffer norm of 10.25 MT for October 1.India, the biggest rice exporter since 2012, had imposed a ban on white rice exports on July 20, aimed to contain cereal inflation, which has remained in double digits since October last year.The food ministry had stated in April-June (2023-24) that about 1.5 MT white rice has been exported, which is an increase of around 35%.In September last year, India had imposed a ban on broken rice exports and put a 20% export tariff on the non-basmati and non-parboiled rice, aimed at improving domestic supplies. However, in FY23, India exported a record 22.34 MT of rice to more than 140 odd countries.The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in its July 2023 crop outlook, stated “India remains the lowest priced Asian exporter and expected to again be the largest exporter, shipping a record 23 MT in 2023-24.”In October 2022, retail inflation in rice was reported at double digit of 10.21%, which rose to 11.78% in June, 2023.It has remained elevated despite the record rice production of the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) at 135.5 MT.
This article has been republished from The Financial Express