The last two months have had a mix of ups and downs. While we have had a spate of festivities, some setbacks were also faced when first export of white non-basmati rice was prohibited effective 20 th July, 2023 and subsequently on 25 th August 2023 (a) Basmati rice export was subjected to a minimum price tag of $ 1,200/T (b) Parboiled non-basmati rice export was imposed 20% export duty.
The prime apprehension of Government to incorporate these two moves has been that there have been instances of Basmati rice having been exported at very low prices and white rice going under the garb of parboiled.
The two moves upset the whole trade and AIREA immediately swung into action and immediately convened a virtual meeting of the Governing Body on 27 th August, 2023 and a large contingent of members had a meeting with Chairman, APEDA and Mr. Rajesh Agarwal, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce on 28 th August, 2023. The delegation put forth strong views why the $ 1,200/T tag is not genuine because of the price variation from variety to variety, variant to variant, packaging type to packaging type etc. Export statistics analysis for last five years has shown that the average FoB price for Indian Basmati rice has not touched four figures and this fact was also highlighted during our discussions. In both the meetings it was suggested that a Committee is being constituted which will be consulting trade and then come up with appropriate recommendations to the Government to enable a review and a new decision. AIREA is continuing its efforts and shall leave no stone unturned.
The export data from DGCIS for the month of July, 2023 was also received towards the end of August, 2023. It shows 14.83% increase in quantity terms over July, 2022 and during the first four month of FY 24 the increase has been 6.88%. The average realization in FoB value during this year has been recorded as $ 1102/T. On the front of non-basmati rice exports, export in July, 2023 has shown 11.24% decline over July, 2022 and during the first four month of FY 23 a negative growth of 7.87% has been registered which reflects the impact of first the 20% duty and then the prohibition.
In order to have threadbare discussions on the present Basmati crop and trade scenario, a special meeting was planned of senior trade members in Goa during 25-28 August, 2023 but it had to be deferred due to emerging scenario and we are re-scheduling the same.
Lest I forget, I must place on record my congratulations and best wishes to Mr.Abhishek Dev, IAS for having taken charge as Chairman, APEDA effective 1 st August, 2023.
Thanks, and best wishes
(Nathi Ram Gupta)