|Subject||After Eu Ban On Mangoes, Iran Cuts Basmati Import|
Close on the heels of a ban on mangoes from India by the European Union (EU), Iran has cut down its purchase of basmati rice by around half over the past three months. And yet, even farmers in Punjab and Haryana - the country's biggest producers of the aromatic crop - are planning to bring more area under basmati this kharif season.
About of 80% of basmati rice exported by India is bought by millers from Punjab and Haryana. Last year, Punjab had about 5.59 lakh hectares (ha) of area under basmati and had an output of 14.87 lakh tonnes while in Haryana the area under the crop was 7.21 lakh ha and production was 18.90 lakh tonnes.
Iran, which is the biggest importer of basmati rice from India, has cited stringent standards on chemical contamination, mainly arsenic, and dissatisfaction with the quality of commodity being delivered for lowered buying. While experts and officials fear this could hurt prices of the new crop as its transplantation begins in the first fortnight of July, exporters have allayed such fears.
Amit Marwaha, a leading rice exporter from Amritsar, said Iran had changed its food safety norms therefore it sent back some consignments of basmati rice from India. "I don't think this will impact rice exports to Iran and other countries since most of us have applied for hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) certification, which states that all food safety standards are met by the millers."
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) data shows that India exported 35 lakh tonnes of basmati rice worth Rs 19,409 crore in the crop year 2012-13. Of this, Iran accounted for about 10.82 lakh tonnes valued at Rs 6,463 crore. From April 2013 to February 2014, basmati rice export stood at 34.38 lakh tonnes worth Rs 26,519 crore, riding mainly on strong demand from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Former president of the All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), Vijay Setia, said demand from overseas wouldn't suffer much in the coming season since most of the exporters had started maintaining the required international standards for metal residue in rice. "All concerns about quality of rice have been addressed so I see no negative impact on the export from India this year as well," said the Karnal-based exporter.
Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com
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