Economy, Domestic Economy

Basmati Imports to Pick Up After October

Basmati Imports to Pick Up After OctoberBasmati Imports to Pick Up After October

First quarter numbers for basmati rice imports from India to Iran–the biggest buyer, accounting for a fourth of Indian sales overseas–are yet to be released, but Indian sources say that volumes are likely to pick up only after October even if issuance of import permits may be undertaken from July.

The current delays are due to the Iranian government’s policy of Indian units and exporters being required to be registered with the Tehran’s Health and Medical Education Ministry, wrote Indian newspaper Business Line, adding that the process can only be initiated by an Iranian importer, who has to furnish a list of intended exporters.

“The main factor is the initiation of a new process, which requires Indian mills to be assessed for good manufacturing practices. They will be eligible to export to Iran and it’s a slow process, since few units have got themselves registered so far,” said R Sundaresan, executive director, All India Rice Exporters’ Association.

“Exports to Iran are on, but not at the same quantity or speed as the same time last year. We expect sales to pick up after October, since their own produce is available currently,” he added.

While there is no guarantee of basmati sales gathering pace, the issuing of import licenses should begin next month.

“A resumption of issuing import permits will take place after Ramadan, which is in July,” said AK Gupta, director, Basmati Export Development Foundation, APEDA.

Iran stopped issuing authorizations last October which saw India’s basmati rice exports slide from $1.4 billion in 2013-14 to $600 million last fiscal.

By volume, exports fell from 1.44 million tons to 940,000 over the same period.

India’s Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh met with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Hojjati on the sidelines of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization conference in Rome earlier this week to enhance agri-cooperation and increase farm trade.