Non-Basmati rice exports set to get the Filipino fillip

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: May 22 2013, 09:12am hrs
In a move that may boost the countrys rice exports, the Philippines, one of the world's key rice importers, has allowed non-Basmati rice shipments from India for the first time.

Official sources told FE that the Philippines has allowed import of 30,000 tonne of rice from India this year under Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ), which provides for lower tariff structure.

This measure would give India, the world's biggest rice exporter, access to a country that has been importing the foodgrain from Vietnam and Thailand for several years.

Trade sources said that quality and price-wise, India's non-Basmati rice is most competitive across the globe with average price realisation of $ 350 a tonne while the Philippines is set to import rice from Thailand at $ 568 a tonne and from Vietnam at $ 459 a tonne.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Agriculture has estimated rice imports by the Philippines during 2012-13 at 1.5 million tonne (mt) while the amount for 2013-14 has been pegged at around 1.2 mt. However, the Philippines government has said that the country would import about 5 lakh tonne rice this year.

The Philippines annual production of rice is estimated at around 20 mt this year and the country also exports a small quantity of aromatic rice.

The Philippines has shown interest in importing rice from India because of price competitiveness compared to other key rice exporters such as Vietnam and Thailand, Vijay Setia, former President, All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) told FE.

As reported by FE recently, the Philippines department of agriculture had admitted to using the word Basmati for exporting aromatic rice to West Asia.

The department of agriculture has taken necessary steps to respect the geographical indication (GI) of Basmati rice and the national rice programme shall focus on our own aromatic rice varieties, which are abundant in various areas in the Philippines, the agriculture department wrote to the Indian embassy in Manila.

India had shipped 6.5 mt of non-Basmati rice with an average price realisation of $ 350 per tonne during 2012-13. Thanks to rising demand from Africa and south Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, exports have been rising steadily since the government lifted a four-year ban on non-Basmati rice exports in September 2011.

India emerged as the worlds largest exporter of rice during 2011-12 with close to 10 mt of exports. Thailand exported 6.9 mt, falling behind India and Vietnam, which sold 7.8 mt overseas. Commerce ministry officials said the country is set to realise close to R30,000 crore from last fiscals rice exports. In 2010-11, the realisation from rice exports was around R22,000 crore.

We are expected to get around R17,000 crore from Basmati rice exports in the last fiscal, a commerce ministry official said. In 2011-12, the country shipped Basmati rice worth R15,450 crore.

competitive produce

Trade sources say that quality and price-wise, Indias non-Basmati rice is most competitive across the globe with average price realisation of $350 a tonne. The Philippines imports rice from Thailand at $568 a tonne and from Vietnam at $459 a tonne

* Thanks to rising demand from Africa and south Asian countries, exports have been rising steadily since the government lifted a four-year ban on non-Basmati rice exports in September 2011