Cabinet to ease ban on rice exports Thursday


New Delhi : The Indian cabinet will decide on easing the ban on rice exports Thursday, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said Wednesday.

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The ban on rice exports for some superior varieties only is likely to be lifted.

“We are planning to remove the export ban on non-Basmati rice above $425 (about Rs.16,850) per tonne free on board, and some other superior qualities. The decision will be taken at a cabinet meeting tomorrow,” the minister told reporters on sidelines of a meeting with a Dutch delegation here.

The statement came after his meeting with Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar over concerns raised by rice-growing states and exporters.

According to the All India Rice Exporters Association, there has been a loss of Rs.5 billion since the ban had been imposed on account of the vessels waiting at Kakinada port in Andhra Pradesh.

“As many as 15 rice vessels had been waiting at Kakinada port ever since the ban was imposed, leading to a loss of about Rs.5 billion, including $1.5 million (Rs.59.4 million) in demurrages on account of the waiting vessels,” Prem Garg, vice chairman for non-Basmati exports section of All India Rice Exporters Association, told IANS.

Exporters have also written to the government, seeking immediate release of the vessels and allow exports of those exporters who have already made advance payments.

Adding that other related expenses have amounted to about Rs.30 million a day, Garg said: “This has become a huge area of concern and exporters are facing tremendous consequences due to the ban.”

On Oct 9, the government had banned export of non-Basmati rice to strengthen domestic supplies and ensure local prices stay under control during the rice procurement season.