By Prabhudatta Mishra India’s non-basmati rice exporters have asked the government not to impose any curbs on shipments amidst global concerns about availability cereals while pointing out that the country’s exports have dropped by 41% to about 4.5 million tonne in FY20.
There is no concern about rice in India as the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has surplus stocks and the production this year is also likely to be a record. Besides, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have requested the FCI to procure 8 million tonne of rabi-grown rice due to a bumper harvest. There is no supply side concerns in India,” BV Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association, told FE.
UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a joint statement on March 30 said: “Uncertainty about food availability can spark a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market.” In the midst of the Covid-19 lockdowns, every effort must be made to ensure that trade flows as freely as possible, specially to avoid any food shortage, they said. Rao said Indian non-basmati rice could not compete with Vietnam and other countries due to lower prices offered by them. Besides, countries like Indonesia and Bangladesh, who were major buyers of Indian non-basmati rice in 2018-19, increased their own production of paddy to cut imports in FY20, experts said. Benin, Nepal, Somalia, UAE and Cote D Ivoire were the top five buyers of India’s non-basmati rice this year until December, having a combined share of nearly 44%. Currently, Indian non-basmati rice (5% broken) costs about $390 a tonne FoB at Kakinada (about Rs 29,713/tonne). However, the realisation was about `27,300/tonne during first four months after the new crop started arriving from October before the corona outbreak that weakened rupee to over `76 against US dollar. “There is no fresh contract happening while physical shipment has stopped after the announcement of lockdown last month,” said a Kakinada-based rice exporter. The rupee depreciation may be temporary and no buyer will like to enter into contract at this point of time, he said. Even Vietnam, India’s main competitor in non-basmati rice in global market, has also stopped shipments last month due to the impact of Covid 19, he added.Source