One of the newest entries into the fiercely-competitive basmati rice exports business is Delhi-based agricultural commodities trading firm DCP India. The company last year launched its ‘Asbah’ brand of basmati rice at the Gulfood exhibition in Dubai. Gaurav Jain, director, DCP, spoke to Sandip Das on the challenges faced by basmati rice exporters in the global market. Excerpts:
The basmati rice exports have shrunk substantially in 2015-16 because of lower realisation. As an exporter, how are you dealing with the situation?
In the past, Iran was importing about a million tonne (mt) of rice from India due to sanctions imposed by the US. Recently, the sanctions have been lifted and Iran will now have more options to import rice from other countries, which has increased the chances of export of basmati rice from India shrinking. We still hope to buck the downward trend of basmati exports by leveraging our strength. Our efforts have been to spread the unique aroma of Indian basmati rice globally.
What are the key challenges your company faces in the export of basmati rice?
Better price realisation is a big challenge for increasing exports. To enter the trade and offer competitive prices, blending of rice (with non-basmati) is a common malpractice done by many small players. Unlike this, we would like to enter the market by maintaining the quality and consistency of our products. Another major challenge is sourcing pesticide or chemical residue-free rice. Since importing countries have very stringent to maximum residue limit for all chemicals, it is sometime very difficult to meet their standards.
How many countries do you export basmati rice to and what is the volume?
In a short span of one year, we have established our brand in countries like the US, the UAE, Italy, Cyprus, Turkey, Bahrain, Maldives, Ghana, Jordan and many more. Our export volumes are increasing considerably. In FY16, we were able to export approximately 2,100 tonne of basmati rice.
How do you see the prospects of basmati shipments in the current financial year? Will Iran import more basmati from India this financial year?
According to an ICRA report, the basmati rice industry may see a revival from the second half of 2016-17 due to the improvement in demand. However, if Iran goes ahead with the curb on rice shipments from India from July 2016, as reported, targets of basmati rice exports may take a hit. On the other hand, as a new entrant in the global market, we see an enormous growth in exports for us.
How long have you been in the business of rice exports? What is your USP of selling basmati rice in the global as well as domestic markets?
We launched our brand ‘ASBAH’ at Gulfood Exhibition 2015 in Dubai. ASBAH’s idea of business is very unique. It contributes a part of its profits to the empowerment of talented, underprivileged women across the world. The money is used for education, sports training and skill development of these girls.