US diaspora wants rice ban lifted, cites limited exports

The possibility of a long ban on export of non-Basmati white and broken rice has the Telugu diaspora in the US worried. They are now urging the Indian government to exempt the US from the ban as it accounts for a small share of Indian rice exports. While India is the largest exporter of rice in the world, accounting for 40% of global shipments, its major markets are in Africa and the neighbourhood, not the US.
“Sona Masuri or BPT fine variety, which is also on the list of prohibited exports, is a staple diet of Telugus and others from southern India in the US. Over the years, its consumption in the US has increased. We receive a very small share, so we urge the central government to consider lifting the ban. We will soon write to the Centre after discussing the issue with all diaspora organisations,” said Jayaram Komati, restaurant and store owner, and AP government’s former representative in the US.
The two Telugu states account for about 2.5 million tonnes of the total five million tonnes of the fine-variety rice exported to other countries annually. Rice millers in Telangana are also approached by Karnataka middlemen who sell it to rice exporters.
If the ban continues, then the current stock would last for about three to six months in the US, say traders in the US.
“People are very concerned about the shortage and also the price increase caused by the ban. We hope the Centre reconsiders ban on regions in which rice consumption is high, but exports limited,” said Satish V, who owns a chain of stores in the United States.
Rice export associations have also made a similar appeal.
“The Sona Masuri fine variety from the two states is exported mostly to the US and Dubai. If the price fluctuations continue, it will put a lot of stress in the US market. We will also urge the Centre to lift the ban,” said Krishna Rao, president of rice exporters association of India.
However, some activists claimed that the ban was heavily influenced by politics.
“With the exception of Uttar Pradesh, all the major rice exporting states have non-BJP governments. In some states, there were election promises to give more quantities of PDS rice,” said an agriculture activist.
Meanwhile, BRS workers took to social media to slam the Centre, alleging that this was another instance of inconsistent decision creating confusion.
This article has been republished from The Times of India

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