New Delhi, Sept. 30: Basmati rice exporters are expecting 10-20 per cent growth this fiscal at a time some countries have imposed restrictions on them.
While Iran has withdrawn import licences, Saudi Arabia has removed a subsidy on imports. About 60 per cent of Indian basmati go to these two west Asian countries; the other major markets are Europe and the US.
Iran imposes curbs every year to protect its own crop. There will not be any major impact (on basmati exports). The (Indian) government policies are also supportive in such situations, Ashwani Arora, joint managing director of LT Foods, told The Telegraph.
Indian exporters believe that the recent floods in Pakistan have severely damaged the crop in that country, leading to orders getting diverted to them. They said exports could be higher this year than in 2009-10. Pakistan and India are the biggest producers of the aromatic rice.
While LT Foods expects export to grow 10 per cent this year, KRBL Limited expects it to jump 20 per cent.
India exports the aromatic rice at $900-1,500 per tonne mainly to West Asia, the US and Europe. The country has exported around 9.04 lakh tonnes during April-July, while the booked amount till August stood at more than 11.5 lakh tonnes. During the same period last year, exports had crossed 10 lakh tonnes.
Industry sees exports for the full year to be well over 25 lakh tonnes.
According to data of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, rice exports increased 44 per cent to 23 lakh tonnes in 2009-10 from 16 lakh tonnes in 2008-09.
In value terms, exports crossed Rs 12,000 crore in 2009-10 against Rs 9,476 crore a year ago. The inclusion of Pusa 1121 variety of basmati in October 2008 expanded the size of the market, especially in Iran.
Iran produces 23-25 lakh tonnes of rice annually and imports 9-10 lakh tonnes, mostly from India. Iran accounts for almost half of the 1121 export, estimated at 13-14 lakh tonnes.