India permits exports of stranded non-basmati white rice from ports.

In a recent development reported on August 30th, the Indian government has issued an order allowing traders to proceed with the export of their consignments of non-basmati white rice that were held up at ports due to an unexpected ban on their exports, according to a government statement released late on Tuesday.

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This move comes as a response to the surprising ban on July 20th, wherein India decided to prohibit the export of commonly consumed non-basmati white rice as a measure to control the escalating domestic prices of the commodity. This decision followed a similar ban on broken rice exports introduced the previous year.

The initial export restriction had resulted in thousands of tonnes of non-basmati white rice being stranded at various ports, causing significant financial losses for traders involved.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), a division of the trade ministry, has now issued a fresh directive, stating that it will permit the shipment of the detained cargoes as long as traders fulfill the condition of paying the applicable export duty by the date of the original ban, i.e., July 20th.

Before the ban on non-basmati white rice exports was implemented in July, exports of this grade of rice attracted a 20% tax.

In the wake of the DGFT’s decision, approximately 150,000 tonnes of non-basmati white rice cargoes are anticipated to be released from various ports, as indicated by Prem Garg, the President of the Indian Rice Exporters Federation. He pointed out that multiple ships were immobilized at the Kandla port, and numerous containers were stockpiled at different ports, causing significant disruptions to the rice industry’s operations.

India, which is responsible for around 40% of the world’s rice exports, supplies rice to over 150 countries, including several impoverished and vulnerable nations in Africa and Asia. Notably, New Delhi achieved a record-breaking rice export figure of 22.2 million tons in the year 2022.

Following the imposition of the ban on non-basmati white rice exports, India introduced a 20% tax on parboiled rice shipments and set a minimum price for the overseas sale of basmati rice in an attempt to stabilize local prices.

The export restrictions on Indian rice have contributed to an upward pressure on global rice prices. Prem Garg emphasized that permitting the release of cargoes trapped at ports will not only benefit Indian suppliers but will also be advantageous for consumers in needy countries. Most of the released cargoes are expected to be directed to East African and West African countries, Garg added.

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