Published On : Fri, May 17th, 2019

Basmati rice export witness phenomenal rise with huge demand from Iran

Prices in domestic market shoot up by Rs 15 per kilogram

Nagpur: The Basmati rice export witnessed phenomenal rise leading to its price rise in the domestic market. One of the primary reasons for the hike in export is attributed to huge demand from Iran.

Conventionally, Basmati rice from India is exported to Arab countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates along with United Kingdom and the US. Of the total rice exported, 25 per cent goes to Iran, which has an annual consumption of 24.40 lakh tonnes.

According to Pratap Motwani; Secretary; The Wholesale Grain and Seeds Merchant Association, last year, India exported 40 lakh tonnes of Basmati rice and 88.18 lakh tonnes of non-Basmati rice.

Iran the major consumer
Iran primarily imports Basmati rice from India and Pakistan. Motwani said that Iran in exchange of crude oil imports 1121 variety of Basmati from India. However, India at present has stopped importing crude from Iran for some political reasons. Motwani informed that Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday announced that the decision to resume crude oil import from Iran would be taken after the Lok Sabha elections.

But in the present scenario, Iran is importing huge quantity of 1121 variety of Basmati rice from India against its payment of earlier crude oil. As a result, the prices of 1121 Basmati have shot up from the earlier 84-85 per kilogram to 97-98 per kilogram. Other variety of Basmati, 1401 has also witnessed upward trend with prices going up by Rs 7-8 per kg. This variety was earlier sold for Rs 68-70 per kg and is now available for Rs 75-78 per kg. This price has a cascading effect on other varieties of rice like Chinnor and Jayshree Ram with prices going up by Rs 8-9 per kg. The new Chinnor is now available in the wholesale market in the range of Rs 5000-5500 per quintal while Jayshree Ram for Rs 4400-4900.

Rise in export
There was a nine per cent rise in the export of Basmati rice in the financial year 2018-19, with India exporting 44.15 lakh tonnes of Basmati rice. However, the export of non-Basmati rice during the same period witnessed a reverse trend registering a fall of 14.56 per cent exporting only 75.34 lakh tonnes.

The country registered a record export of 88.18 lakh tonnes of Basmati rice during the last fiscal owing to increase in demand from Iran. The reason for fall in the export of non-Basmati was owing to less demand from Bangladesh. Earlier, Bangladesh had less stock of non-Basmati rice and imported a huge stock from India, Motwani informed.

Domestic prices may rise further
With several areas of the country, including parts of Maharashtra facing drought like situation, the prices of rice will continue to witness upward trend in the domestic market. According to Virbhan Tulswani, proprietor Dadumal Motumal, a renowned trader of Basmati, there is a heavy demand for Basmati rice in the domestic market at present, which would certainly make it costlier.

By Awadhoot Pathak