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India well-placed to ship jeera but denial of export sops hits traders.

Date: 18-11-2019
Subject: India well-placed to ship jeera but denial of export sops hits traders
Kochi: Hit by the withdrawal of export benefits, Indian spice traders now fear a shortfall in new jeera crop as incessant rains have delayed sowing.

Jeera is the second largest exported spice from India earning Rs 2,000 crore annually. Normally, the sowing of jeera starts after Diwali, in the main growing areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan. But it has been delayed by rains and is likely to get into full swing towards the end of this month or in December.

“Jeera as a crop needs less moisture and so the farmers have not been able to start sowing. If there is further delay, they may shift to other crops like chana and wheat, which need less water, and hence acreage for jeera will be reduced despite a good monsoon,’’ said Dipak Parikh, partner, Kanu Krishna Corporation, an exporter.

Last year, the crop was around 600,000 tonnes and this time the industry was expecting a bumper output as rains have been good in producing states. The next crop harvest is likely to take place only in March, a delay of one month, Parikh said. Export demand has been hit by the disabling of benefits under merchandise export from India scheme (MEIS) from August.

“We used to get as much as 7 per cent discount under the scheme till August. We enter into export deals considering that. But when the government stops it, we can’t withdraw from the export deals as we are already committed. As a result, our margins are hit,’’ said Shailesh Shah, director of Jabs International, another exporter. The futures prices at National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (Ncdex) have dropped to Rs 162 per kg from around Rs 168 per kg last month. As jeera prices have come down globally, India is well placed to ship more quantities. India has become the major supplier globally with its competitors Syria and Turkey reaping a poor crop. China has been buying heavily from India this year. Its imports have been going directly instead of through Vietnam, like earlier.

The All India Spices Exporters Forum has made several representations to the Centre on MEIS and it reckons that exporters will lose heavily if the benefits are not allowed in full from August.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

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