After a five-day ‘non-cooperation movement’ against the central government’s decision on rice exports, basmati exporters and mill owners have decided to start buying paddy from farmers again. President of All India Rice Exporters Association and some exporters met Union Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra on Thursday. The exporters said that the industry is in crisis as the minimum export price (MEP-minimum export price) of basmati rice has been set at $1,200 by stopping the export of non-basmati white rice. Basmati exports are negligible. It should be reduced. The government is now reviewing the matter.
Former president of the association Vijay Setia said that after meeting with Chopra, the governing body of the association met. Then it was decided to start buying again. Because the purchase of basmati rice is stopped, the farmers are facing losses. We are appealing to all our members who want to buy paddy to meet their household needs to start buying, so that farmers get money and prepare for rabi season cultivation. Basmati rice prices have come down to Tk 3,800 to Tk 3,000 per quintal due to stoppage of purchase.
The organization will hold a review meeting after a week
Setia said that there will be another meeting of the association on October 27. Until then, if the government takes any decision that will increase our business, we will welcome it. But if someone makes a decision that causes problems for our business, we will review our paddy purchase decision. Then we will see what to do. Most basmati is exported. At present, exports have declined due to the $1200 minimum export price barrier. In this situation, what do we buy rice?
Exporters stopped buying from October 14
Exporters and rice mill owners stopped buying basmati rice from farmers from the 14th to protest the imposition of a minimum export price of $1,200 per tonne on basmati rice. Due to this, the price of paddy has decreased by 500 to 800 rupees per quintal. The government does not purchase basmati paddy as it is expensive and does not come under MSP. In such a situation, its market depends on the private sector. Exporters say there is a lot of old rice lying around, so where will they buy the paddy and where will they get the money. Old rice is kept as exports fall due to $1200 MEP imposition.
When did MEP start?
A MEP of $1,200 per tonne was imposed on exports of basmati rice on August 25. The government did not change it even though the exporters raised their voices against it. In a virtual meeting with exporters on September 25, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal assured the MEP reduction. But instead of reducing it, the government again decided on October 14 that the old decision of $1200 would remain in place in the future.
Basmati Export Price