Karnal, September 20
To safeguard their international market share, rice exporters of Haryana have urged the Centre to withdraw the price control order on the export of basmati.
The Union government recently fixed the minimum export price (MEP) of $1,200 per tonne, triggering fear among exporters that Pakistan and Thailand might take over the fragrant rice market share. Desperate, the exporters are approaching the government through different platforms to withdraw the restriction or reduce it to $850 a tonne.
Paddy is cultivated on around 36 lakh acres in the state and basmati is grown on around 35-40 per cent area. About 70 per cent basmati produced in Haryana is exported to over 150 countries, generating a revenue of around Rs 18,000-20,000 crore, claimed Vijay Setia, former president of All India Rice Exporters Association.
They stated that since basmati was not a part of the PDS system, the government should not restrict its export when the crop was almost ready in fields. “We have been restricted by the Centre to sell our produce at $1,200 a tonne, which will affect our export business. India has five basmati export varieties that are sold at different prices. The government should either lift the restriction or reduce it to $850 per tonne,” said Setia.
If the government wanted to control inflation, basmati export prices should, in fact, be doubled to the prices offered by the FCI in the open market, which was Rs 31 per kg, he added.
Stating that they had raised the issue with the APEDA chairman and the Commerce Ministry, Sushil Jain, president, Haryana Rice Exporters Association, said: “A committee has been constituted by the ministry to solicit feedback from stakeholders in the seven basmati-producing states. Delay in taking a decision is hampering export. Several consignments are held up at ports and at factories.”
Farmers, too, have demanded the Central government to withdraw the decision. “If there is no capping, farmers will fetch good prices for their produce,” said Sewa Singh Arya, president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union.
Consignments held up at ports
A committee has been constituted by the Commerce Ministry to take feedback from stakeholders in the seven basmati-producing states. Delay in taking a decision is hampering export. Several consignments are held up at ports and at factories. — Sushil Jain, president, Haryana rice exporters association
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