Central government is urged to lift restrictions on rice supplies and abolish duties

The government has been requested by rice exporters to relax limitations on the export of non-basmati rice by eliminating the 20 percent export levy on white (raw) rice and permitting the transport of one million tonnes (mt) of broken rice. The Centre must evaluate the Food Corporation of India’s purchase of paddy cultivated in the kharif season, thus it is unlikely to make a judgment before March (FCI). The Rice Exporters Association (TREA) complained in a letter to the Food Ministry that the 20 percent export duty puts exporters at a disadvantage to Myanmar, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Thailand.

The Food Ministry proposed export restrictions last year to ensure domestic availability and control inflation. Even though rice trading is conducted on a “narrow margin,” exporters said that since the tariff was implemented, their margins have decreased. The twin goals of keeping inflation in check and bringing procurement to a comfortable level have been accomplished, according to TREA President B V Krishna Rao, who indicated that the matter (export duty) should be reevaluated at this time.

The government redistributed more rice in place of wheat under the public distribution system, he claimed, relieving pressure on rice while the forecast for the wheat harvest is positive. Regarding the problem of the complete ban on entirely broken rice exports, Rao stated that TREA has recommended the allocation of one MT due to the need from Senegal and Indonesia for human consumption. As other industry users like poultry or ethanol would not pay acceptable rates, this will benefit farmers in receiving better rates for their paddy, he claimed.

Broken rice cannot be exported, with the exception of parboiled and basmati varieties, according to a notification released on September 8 by the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade. The consignments for which agreements had been made, however, were permitted to be exported under specified restrictions between September 9 and September 15. For individuals who are covered by temporary agreements, the deadline was just extended to September 30.

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