Basmati traders to go on strike as Centre keeps floor price unchanged - Hindustan Times
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Basmati traders to go on strike as Centre keeps floor price unchanged

By, Karnal
Oct 15, 2023 07:20 AM IST

Since Haryana is the biggest producer of basmati rice with a total share of around 42 percent in its exports, the decision is likely to have an adverse impact on farmers and traders of the state

After the Union government refused to accept the demand of the rice exporters to bring down the minimum export price (MEP) of aromatic long-grained basmati rice to US $ 850 per tonne from $1,200 ( 99,589), the rice exporters and traders of Haryana have declared an indefinite strike from Sunday, following which they will not procure paddy from the farmers and mandis.

The Union government refused to bring down the minimum export price of aromatic long-grained basmati rice to US $ 850 per tonne from $1,200. (HT Photo)
The Union government refused to bring down the minimum export price of aromatic long-grained basmati rice to US $ 850 per tonne from $1,200. (HT Photo)

All India Rice Exporters Association (AIERA) president Nathi Ram Gupta said, “The associations of the rice exporters and rice millers held a joint meeting in Karnal on Saturday evening. We have decided to wait for the government’s response for the next two days. We will meet the agricultural and processed food products export development authority chairman on Monday and the next decision will be taken after that.”

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He termed the government’s decision as a backstabbing move and said it will benefit the rice exporters from other countries, especially Pakistan. “This decision to fix the MEP of US $1,200 per tonne is not justified as the average prices of basmati rice in the international market remained around US $ 925 in the past several years. At this price, we will not be able to export the rice and we have decided not to procure paddy from Sunday,” he added.

A letter issued by the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution on Saturday maintains that as per the decision of the competent authority, the present arrangement of MEP of US $ 1,200 per tonne, for registration- cum -allocation certificate for basmati rice may continue beyond October 15 till further orders.

Since Haryana is the biggest producer of basmati rice with a total share of around 42 percent in its exports, the decision is likely to have an adverse impact on farmers and traders of the state.

Since the harvesting of basmati is going on in the mandis, the move has come as a jolt to the rice exporters who were expecting that the government would consider their demand as they had received a positive nod from the Union ministry in a meeting held on September 26. The traders and exporters are of the view that the decision could cause a fall in the prices of premium basmati paddy prices in the mandis which has reached around 4,200 a quintal in the grain markets. With around 40 percent of the basmati rice yet to be harvested, the fall in the prices could cause a loss to the farmers.

The Union government had imposed a $1,200 per tonne MEP on basmati rice shipments in August this year to tame inflation and rice prices in the local market.

Vijay Setia, former president of AIREA and rice exporter from Karnal, said, “Buyers and rice traders will start vanishing from Indian markets from today and tomorrow and it will adversely affect the traders in general and the farmers in particular as the move will result in a fall in the prices of all basmati varieties.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Neeraj Mohan is a correspondent, covering Karnal, Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Panipat and Yamunanagar districts of Haryana.

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