Export ban hits Arani rice farmers, mills hard

By Rajalakshmi Sampath
The union government’s ban on export of rice to other countries has left the farmers and rice-mill owners of Arani and Kalampur, known for rice production, in the district worried. Home to over 80 rice mills, both places together produce various varieties of rice including Ponni, PTD, Sona Deluxe, HMT, and IR 50.

Sources said 50% of the rice produced in Arani was sent to various states in south India and exported to international markets that include Singapore, Malaysia, Gulf countries and South Africa. “We had a proper flow of our products. The ban has affected this flow, and translated to a 5% loss for the rice-mill owners in Arani within a week,” said A. Babu,  president of Arani All Rice Traders Welfare Association.

A rice-mill owner in Arani said there is no difference in the quality of the rice they produce for overseas and domestic customers. “The price of one kilogramme of rice is just Rs 30. So, the profit also remains normal. If the ban continues, it will affect our business to a great extend,” he said.

Venkatesan, a farmer from Arani, said the situation will affect them financially. “If a middleman used to take 100 packs of paddy earlier, after the ban, they will take much less from us,” he said. According to the farmers, if the situation persists, there will be an oversupply of rice, ultimately resulting in low prices for the product, affecting the livelihood of rice-mill owners and farmers.

“For us, it is a total damage. The government should lift the ban soon,” said another farmer. However, the rice mill owners said the price of rice will remain stable for a few months. But they are worried about the delay in opening direct purchase warehouse centres for paddy.

“Where we will store paddy until the export ban is lifted? The country will never face a rice crisis. Only farmers will face the crisis if the ban continues,” said Subramanian, another farmer from Arani.
New Indian Express

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