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Cabinet may ease ban on rice exports

The Govt may partially remove the ban on export of non-basmati rice, priced at more than $425 per tonne in the world market, reports Gaurav Choudhury.
Hindustan Times | By Gaurav Choudhury, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 24, 2007 09:50 PM IST

The Cabinet is likely to partially remove the ban on export of non-basmati rice priced at more than $425 per tonne in the world market.

"We will discuss the issue at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow,” Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath told reporters on the sidelines of a bilateral trade meeting with the Dutch delegation.

The decision comes after a meeting between Nath, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday.

"Hooda explained to us the situation being faced by farmers in Haryana and Punjab. We also spoke on phone with Andhra Chief Minister Y.S.R. Reddy who has been receiving representations from rice growers,"

Nath said. He said the government has agreed to allow export of non-basmati rice varieties, which have a price of above $425 per tonne.

The government had banned export of non-basmati rice from October 9.

Earlier this month, Pawar said the ban had been imposed to ensure that local prices stayed under control in the rice procurement season that started October 1. This drew flak from both rice exporters as well as farmers who felt that it prevented their access to lucrative global markets.

The commerce ministry has also demanded that all stocks lying at the ports for exports before that date should be allowed to be exported. India exported 3.7 million tonnes of non-basmati rice valued at Rs 4,258 crore in 2006-07.

Nath said that stocks of all varieties lying in port godowns up to October 10 would not come under the export ban.

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