Abolish export duty on rice and protect market share from going to Pakistan: FKCCI

Ramesh Chandra Lahoti 

The export ban on many rice varieties has effectively brought rice trade to a grinding halt, said FKCCI in a review of the exports that are lagging vis-à-vis previous year. 

As a veteran APMC Trader myself, I can perfectly understand the situation in which the Centre decided to put export curbs on rice varieties. During the last year, the immediate task was to tame high inflation and rein in the retail prices of rice. 

But now, the situation has taken a different turn, with global prices hitting record highs as India is the world’s largest exporter of food grains. 

With supply from our country cut short, our exports have declined sharply by as much as nearly 45% according to an estimate by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

In the present situation, it is pertinent to point out that the Kharif harvest may hit the markets soon. Accordingly there is an expectation from the Traders that time is ripe for the Government to reduce the 20% export duty it had levied earlier or even abolish it altogether, given the anticipated increased supply from kharif harvest. 

Traders of Basmati rice are also anticipating a lower revision of the minimum export price (MEP) from $1200 announced earlier per ton for basmati varieties to $850 per ton as indicated by the government and being speculated about in the market. 

I would like to appeal to the Government to heed these expectations of the Traders, among whom rice exporters have suffered the most due to the export curbs. 

It is important to keep in mind that’s not doing so, that is continuing with the export curbs, will end up in India giving away its prized market share in rice trade to its next competitor, Pakistan. 

The chances of that happening will become stronger, the longer the export curbs are retained. 

Ramesh Chandra Lahoti
President, FKCCI

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