A 13 per cent increase in MSP of paddy has sent jitters among the non-basmati rice exporters, who fear that the price rise will make the Indian cereal unviable in the global market and threaten India’s position as the largest exporter of rice, they said. "While we welcome the increase in MSP for farmers, the government should also look at sustaining the growth in rice exports," said BV Krishna Rao, President of the Rice Exporters Association.
The government could look at incentivesthrough schemes such as Merchandise Exports from India Scheme or interest subvention, he added. The rice exporters are planning to take up the issue with the Commerce Ministry soon.
Non-basmati rice shipments have emerged as a major component of the Indian farm produce exports in recent years helping the country to emerge as the largest exporter of the cereal. Non-basmati rice exports stood at 8.6 million tonnes (mt) valued at $3 billion last year. In the current, financial year, the shipments have maintained the growth trend with a weakening rupee aiding the exports. As per the latest data from Apeda, non-basmati rice shipments have grown 40 per cent in the first two months of current, financial year at 1.43 mt valued at $603 million ( Rs. 4,013 crore) over the corresponding last year. The non-basmati rice accounts for around a fifth of the Apeda’s export basket in value terms.
Of India’s total rice production of 108 mt, the domestic consumption including the buffer stocks is estimated at around 97-98 mt, while the rest is exported mainly to countries in Africa, Bangladesh and SriLanka. Any slow-down in shipments will lead to accumulation of stocks and may influence the prices, the exporters said.