By Puja Das
India is likely to export 290,000 tonnes of fully broken white rice under government-to-government (G2G) route to Mali, a country in West Africa.
The move follows the Indian government’s decision in May to permit exports of fully broken white rice, which was banned from 8 September last year, to other countries to meet their food security needs.
“MEA (the ministry of external affairs) has forwarded a request from the minister of industry and commerce to export 290,000 tonnes of fully broken rice,” a senior government official said.
“The quantity will be exported in two separate lots of 240,000 tonnes and 50,000 tonnes once the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) examines the issue and announce the policy.”
The development comes amid demand from African countries that look to India for supply of fully broken white rice, other than parboiled rice.
This will be an addition to the government permitted broken rice exports of 500,000 tonnes to Senegal and 50,000 tonnes to Gambia in April. The government also allowed to export 200,000 tonnes of the rice variety to Indonesia in April.
African countries rely on India for rice supply as they get it at a cheaper rate as compared to the price offerings by Vietnam, Thailand or Pakistan.
While Thailand is offering 100% broken rice at $523 a tonne, the same variety of rice is being offered by India at $425 per tonne, the benchmark price in the global market. The Indian price includes a 20% export duty. A 5% broken rice is being offered at $468-$472 a tonne by India, whereas Pakistan, Vietnam and Thailand are offering it at $488-492, $508-512 and $518 per tonne, respectively. These three countries are offering the 25% broken rice in the range of $458-498. In contrast, India is quoting this variety at $448-452 a tonne, spot trade sources said. These prices are free-on-board (FOB).
Queries sent to MEA, commerce and food ministries on Sunday remained unanswered till press time.
Due to an export ban on fully broken rice, Indian exporters cannot sell it to the international market. However, the Indian government on 24 May allowed the exports of broken rice based on permission given by it for shipments to other countries for meeting their food security needs, though the export of broken rice is banned in general. The step was taken by the government after it started receiving requests for the same from foreign ministries.
As the export ban on fully broken rice is on place since September 2022, African nations, which rely on India to meet its 70% rice consumption have switched to non-basmati rice. In the first two months of the ongoing financial year, import of non-basmati rice by African countries have been 35% higher than the corresponding period last year at nearly 2.1 million tonnes (mt), said executive director of All India Rice Exporters’ Association Vinod Kaul.
In April-May of FY24, India’s basmati rice exports were 21% more than the previous year during the same period at 830,858 tonnes, and a 6.1% hike year-on-year at 2.8 mt has been recorded in non-basmati rice exports.
In FY23, India exported a total of 17.79 mt of non-basmati rice, while broken rice exports were 23% lower on year at 3 mt because of a ban on shipments imposed to keep domestic prices down.
This article has been republished from Livemint