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Demand for Indian rice to remain robust this season, say exporters.

Date: 03-12-2021
Subject: Demand for Indian rice to remain robust this season, say exporters
Indian rice exports could touch 20 million tonne for the season, given that rice production is expected to cross 100 million tonne during the kharif season of 2021-22, exporters have said.

“Kharif rice production has already been harvested November onwards and therefore, there is no issue of any major damage to the crop. Around 9 million tonne of rice has already been exported till October, and exports continue to look good because food is a necessity,” Vinod Kaul, executive director, All India Rice Exporters Association, said.

Kaul said Basmati exports have been a little slow since prices for the variety have shot up this year due to the unseasonal rain in September. Prices are already up 20-35% since the supply of quality Basmati rice is down by almost 15-20% this year compared to the last kharif season, he said.

“Internationally, that price is not being fetched, but Basmati is a small component of our total rice exports. It is not a mass consumption product,” Kaul said. Last year the Covid-19 wave was severe, but exports continued and shall continue this time as well, he said.

BV Krishna Rao, president, Rice Exporters Association, said Indian rice exports are likely to touch 20 million tonne this season, including 16 million tonne of non-Basmati rice. “Rice being essential, no country has imposed restrictions on its import. India has done well in the past two years [even during the pandemic]. Even this time, we will do well since the overall production should be ample enough to support exports of around 16 million tonne of non-Basmati rice. Last year, India had exported around 14 million tonne of non-Basmati rice,” he said.

Rao said China continues to buy from India. Last year China bought one million tonne, and the orders could be repeated this year. Bangladesh purchased around two million tonne from India last year and could come back for good quantities in January.

Countries in north and west Africa are also are buying from India, with Benin leading in the purchases. Last fiscal, it bought 1.2 million tonne of rice from India and the year before it purchased 0.54 million tonne. West Asia, Far East and African markets continue to be lucrative buyers. This year, there have been enquiries from Latin America as well, exporters said.

From the point of view of price and logistics, rice exports from India are competitive compared to Thailand, Vietnam or Pakistan. India offers its parboiled rice at $360 free-on-board, while Thailand offers this rice at $380-390 per tonne. Indian 100% broken rice is priced around $280 per tonne, whereas other countries offer it at $290 per tonne.

According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), non-basmati rice exports during the first half of the current fiscal increased about 75% to 8.91 million tonne, valued at `21,852 crore from 5.08 million tonne valued at `11,765 crore during the same period a year ago.

Bangladesh is the top importer of Indian rice, buying 1.25 million tonne during the period, followed by Benin and China, which imported 0.685 million tonne and 0.675 million tonne, respectively. Exports to Bangladesh and China have already exceeded the total shipments made during the entire 2020-21 fiscal.

According to the ministry of agriculture’s first advance estimate of the kharif crop this season (July 2021-June 2022), rice production will likely reach a record 107.04 million tonne.


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