India set to ship first consignment of non-basmati rice to China

China has allowed imports of non-basmati rice from India and the first consignment of 100 tonnes will be shipped tomorrow from Nagpur, the commerce ministry said today.

“The first consignment of non-basmati rice (white rice 5 per cent broken) of 100 tonnes is to be shipped to China from Nagpur tomorrow. The consignment will be received by China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) which is one of China's state-owned food processing holding companies,” according to the commerce ministry release. 
After concerted efforts of the Government of India, 19 rice mills and processing units have been registered for export of non-basmati rice from India to China.
In 9 June this year, the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China and India’s Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare signed a new protocol on phyto-sanitary requirements for exporting rice from India to China. 
The protocol, signed at Qingdao, China, during the visit of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, amended the earlier protocol on phyto-sanitary requirements for exporting rice from India to China to include the export of non-basmati varieties of rice from India.
A major rice market in the world, China so far allowed import of only basmati rice from India.
Under the protocol, the shipments will have to comply with the Chinese plant quarantine laws and regulations.
India will also have to ensure that processing and storage houses of the rice to be exported to China is free from pests - Trogoderma granarium and Prostephanus truncatus - and live insects.
The exported rice will have to be free of soil, seeds of weeds, paddy hull, loose bran and any of plant debris of rice.
Non-basmati rice exports from the country during April-February 2018 stood at $3.26 billion as against $2.53 billion in 2016-17.
While India has for long been seeking market access in China for non-basmati rice, it is for the first time that Indian exporters are allowed to access the Chinese market.
India wants to increase agri-commodity exports to China with a view to bridging the ballooning trade deficit, which has increased to $63.12 billion in 2017-18 from $51.08 billion in the previous fiscal.