Rice exporters to govt: Get us access to China, Nigeria
7th October, 2015
Faced with a sluggish trend in non-basmati rice shipments amidst stiff competition from major producers such as Thailand and Vietnam, exporters are looking for government intervention in facilitating access to large buyers such as Nigeria and China.
While Nigeria, one of the large buyers of the Indian cereal, has stopped official imports for about a year now due to their domestic crisis and currency-related issues, China – a potential large market – is yet to open up its borders for the non-basmati rice.
“The government should intervene and assist the exporters in seeking a market access to these large buyers Nigeria and China,” said BV Krishna Rao, President of Agri Exporters Association. “While we have been buying crude from Nigeria for some time now, we expect that the Indian rice exporters should be given a preferential treatment by the African nation,” Rao said.
India, in fact, was a biggest supplier of par-boiled rice to Nigeria with shipments exceeding one million tonnes last year.
Similarly, with China the Centre should expedite the process of establishing the quality norms that facilitate the non-basmati shipments, Rao said.
China, which began importing rice four years ago and annually imports about 5 million tonnes, has not granted access to Indian non-basmati rice.
The absence of defined phyto-sanitary norms between the two neighbouring countries is cited by China as the main reason for not importing from India, which the trade here sees as a non-tariff barrier.
Though China has opened up the market for basmati rice, there are hardly any shipments happening to the neighbouring nation due to their preference to scented and sticky rice varieties from Thailand, said Rajen Sundaresan, Executive Director, All India Rice Exporters Association, the apex body of exporters.
“The Government should take up the issue with both China and Nigeria to facilitate the Indian non-basmati rice shipments,” he added.
Though total rice shipments have seen a marginal increase in the current financial year, in value terms they have faced a decline.
According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority , the non-basmati rice shipments during April-August period were 2.9 million tonnes – a tad higher than the 2.75 million in corresponding period last year.
But in rupee value terms, the exports were lower by 2 per cent at Rs. 6,755 crore for the period ( Rs. 6,881 crore).
In dollar terms, the non-basmati shipments were down 7.5 per cent at $1.05 billion ($1.14 billion).
Similarly, with basmati rice, the shipments in volume terms were up at 1.67 million tonnes for April-August period against 1.43 million tonnes in the corresponding last year. However, in value terms the basmati shipments were down 18 per cent at Rs. 9,940 crore for the period ( Rs. 12,180 crore).
In dollar terms, the shipments dropped by 23 per cent to $1.55 billion against $2.03 billion the previous year.