Europeans prefer Indian Basmati platter, farmers happy

Robust demand from Europe, which buys 10 per cent of the total Basmati rice exported from India, could ensure better returns for Indian farmers this year. This, coupled with the likelihood of Iran lifting its ban on basmati imports from India soon is likely to hike prices further by 5 per cent to 10 per cent, said traders.
Farmers are getting 40 per cent-50 per cent higher prices for their basmati varieties at Rs 3,000-3,500 per 100 kg this year compared to the same period last year.
“Exports to European countries have been on the rise over the past few months. This is good news for the industry and farmers. Current prices are 40-50 per cent higher than the same period last year,” said Vijay Setia, president, All India Rice Exporters’ Association.
Setia said overall exports could see a slight increase this year.
“White rice export to Europe will pick up by the year ahead. Currently, brown rice dominates Indian export,” said Priyanka Mittal, director at KRBL, which markets India Gate basmati brand. She added that a lower crop in the country has ensured better price realisation for farmers. Further, Mittal said that exports to Iran will kick off after that country lifts its ban on basmati imports.
As per trade, Iran imports about 10 lakh tonne of rice every year to supplement its domestic production of about 20 lakh tonne. Of this, about 7 lakh tonne is imported from India. At Amritsar Mandi, Jitendar Singh, a basmati trader, said all major exporters such as Lal Qila, KRBL, LT Overseas and other domestic players were on a buying spree.
“There was no carryover stock of basmati crop from last year and with this year’s crop being less, there has been a lot of buying. The rice quality is very good and prices are at Rs 3,000-3,500 a quintal for exportable varieties while for traditional basmati varieties it is going at Rs 4,000-4,200 a quintal,” he said. In 2016-17, total basmati rice export from India was 40,00,471.56 tonnes, while in 2015-16, export was 40,45,796.26 tonnes, said traders.

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