India allowed export of 1million tonnes non-basmati rice in 2009-10

The government has allowed exports of around 1 million tonnes of non-basmati rice in the current financial year 2009-10, despite an embargo on foodgrain exports amidst rising domestic prices of the commodity.

India exported close to a million tonnes of non-basmati rice in the current financial year, mainly to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as also to Mauritius and other African countries, mainly on diplomatic grounds, a government official said on Thursday.

He said the government has asked state-run trading firms such as MMTC, STC and PEC to negotiate the deals at market prices.

He said the ban is only on commercial exports and is not applicable to shipments under the food aid programme, diplomatic or strategic sales and bilateral agreement through MMTC, STC and PEC.

Of the total 9.52 lakh tonnes, he said, the maximum quantity of 1.44 lakh tonnes was exported to Cote D'Ivoire, followed by 1.41 lakh tonnes to Senegal - both in Africa. Sri Lanka, Nepal and Mauritius got even less, he added.

While the government banned export of non-basmati rice in April 2008 to boost domestic supplies and check food prices, he said, there was no restriction on shipments of basmati. However, the government had pegged the minimum export price of the premium basmati rice at $900 a tonne, he added.