India's rice exports may rise 15 percent as govt junks export floor price
India's annual Basmati brand rice exports will surpass last year's figure in the current fiscal, said Sumeet Saluja, managing director, Whitefields Overseas, which markets Basmati under the brand name India Crown. Total rice shipments, including Basmati and non-Basmati, were 7.3 million tonne in 2011-12.
Of this, 3.2 million tonne was of Basmati and the rest 4.1 million tonne was of non-Basmati. India is the world's second largest rice producer and top Basmati exporter. Traders said ending the MEP scheme would help exporters sell lower grades of Basmati at prices below 700 U.S. dollars a tonne.
At present, Indian Basmati rice is getting nearly 20 percent premium over the last year and is being sold in the overseas market at a price varying between 1100 to 1400 U.S. dollars per tonne, said Saluja.
However, Vijay Setia, former president of All-India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), said: "Last year, farmers got a paltry 14 to 15 rupees per kg for new paddy and 30 rupees per kg for old paddy. It was a bumper crop last year. This year, farmers are expected not to settle below 24 to 25 rupees per kg for raw basmati paddy. Under these circumstances, I think there will be a drop in purchases by buyers."
Indian exporters will be able to achieve last year's Basmati exports of 3.2 million tonne. India produced a record 103 million tonne of rice in the 2011-12 crop year that ended in June, registering a jump of about 8 percent from the previous year. This included 5 million tonne of Basmati. The country exports rice to West Asia, Europe, U. S. and Latin American countries. "India's rice stocks on August 1, 2012 stood at 28.5 million tonne, up about 13 percent from 25.3 million tonne for the same time last year. We do not see that a deficient monsoon will affect exports this year. We see a 10 to 15 percent increase in exports this year. Prices have remained flat for the last three months as far as Basmati rice is concerned," said Raman Aggarwal, managing director, JRD International, a rice exporting firm.
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