Government may allow non-basmati rice exports to African countries news
05 August 2008

Mumbai: The government is likely to allow export of 2 to 3 million tonnes of non-Basmati rice to African countries soon even as the general ban on rice exports will continue till the new crop arrives in the market.

An empowered group of ministers on foodgrains, scheduled to meet tomorrow to review food stock situation and its prices, is also expected to suggest a relaxation in the export ban on non-basmati rice in the case of African countries, which are in the grip of severe food shortage.

The empowerd group of ministers, headed by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, will include agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, finance minister P Chidambaram, commerce minister Kamal Nath and planning commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

The government had, in March, banned the export of commonly used rice to improve its domestic availability and rein in inflation which has since come closer to the 12 per cent mark.

The current move follows reports of a bumper crop of 94 million tonnes of non-Basmati rice, expected in November, and a huge increase in acreage of paddy in the country.

The farmers have gone for paddy in a big way this time following an unprecedented rise in rice prices across the globe. Summer-sown rice crop in the country was planted on 23.13 million hectares as of 31 July, up 11 per cent from 20.76 million hectares a year-ago.

Even if the ban is not fully lifted, Indian exporters may be allowed to export 2-3 million tonnes after November to some African countries.

Restrictions like minimum price fixation of $1,000 per tonne and export tax imposed on the expensive Basmati rice, however, are expected to continue.

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Government may allow non-basmati rice exports to African countries