Iraq, a new market for India's basmati exports
New Delhi, Feb. 12:
Iraq is emerging as a new market for Indian basmati as exports of the aromatic rice have picked up in the post-Saddam era. Exporters are bullish on the prospects and hope to double shipments to about 2.5 lakh tonnes in the current financial year.
“People are shifting to quality products due to the openness in the system in the post-dictatorial era. This is resulting in increased demand for the quality Indian rice,”
said Mr Vijay Sethia, President of the All-India Rice Exporters Association.
Basmati exports to Iraq in 2010-11 were around 1.25 lakh tonnes,
estimates Mr Sethia. Of this, direct exports were about 31,239 tonnes, while the rest was shipped indirectly through Dubai. “Now the direct exports have picked up and we hope to do a total of around 2.5 lakh tonnes this year,” he said.
Iraq accounts for a fraction of the country's total basmati consignments. Neighbouring Iran is the largest buyer of Indian aromatic rice and shipments stood at close a million tonnes last year.
However, the recent instances of payment defaults from Iran could possibly hamper the volumes this year even though exporters have welcomed the Government's recent move to allow opening of letter of credits in rupee terms.
Mr Sethia said the recent reduction of minimum export price (MEP) on basmati to $700 from $900 per tonne should aid the shipments. In the current fiscal, the Indian basmati exports could touch 2.5 million tonnes, up from 2.18 mt in the previous year, he said.
The reduction in MEP will also aid the shipments of par-boiled and unpolished basmati rice, which are relatively less priced, Mr Sethia said. Europe mainly prefers the unpolished rice, while the par-boiled or semi-processed rice is exported to Saudi Arabia.
Business Line : Industry & Economy / Agri-biz : Iraq, a new market for India's basmati exports