India may review rice export ban in September

India may review rice export ban in September

(By Agrodados/Planeta Arrows) The Indian government has taken several steps to ensure adequate domestic supplies of the grain, including banning the export of non-basmati white rice from July 2023 and imposing a 20% tax on parboiled rice.

The central government may review the restrictions imposed on export of some rice varieties in September when the current kharif season ends and final production data is available, a senior government official said.

The Kharif season for crops coincides with the arrival of the southwest monsoon in India, usually between June and October.

Although rice is the main kharif crop, the latest estimates from the agriculture ministry show that the area under rice cultivation is slightly lower than last year, at 2.2 million hectares, and pulses have taken the lead. The current monsoon season is particularly crucial for rice sowing as it is a rain-fed crop.

According to data released by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the month of June ended with a rainfall deficit, although the gap reduced to 10.9% on June 30 as against 13.8% on the previous day.

The official quoted said the lack of rainfall is unlikely to affect rice production, as most of the sowing (or transplanting) will take place in July and August. “In most areas, people have started transplanting, which happens mainly in July and August. So, the lack of rain in June is not a cause for concern.”

Transplantation refers to a method by which nursery-grown rice seedlings are transplanted into water fields 15 to 40 days after sowing to obtain higher yields.

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The official further said that the distribution of rainfall between July and September will be crucial for rice production, and the call to ease the ban on non-basmati rice exports depends almost entirely on how the monsoon fares during those three months.

According to Gaura Sengupta of IDFC First Bank, July rains are more important as about 80 per cent of sowing takes place during this period. Rainfall is crucial for agricultural production as more than 40 per cent of the area under cultivation is not irrigated.

The latest data points to improvement in rainfall in July.

Due to heavy rains in northwest and northeast India, the overall monsoon deficit in the country declined to 3% on July 4, as against around 11% on the last day of June.

The IMD predicts that there will be above normal rainfall in July.

About the author: Cory Weinberg

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