Indian rice exporters say Iran government killing their business (exclusive)

Business Materials 31 May 2016 17:20

Tehran, Iran, May 31

By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

Indian rice exporters say they are finding it hard to keep their market in Iran because of a government ban on rice imports by Tehran.

"The ban has a very bad effect. Prices have decreased by 50 percent and this will go on if the Iranian policy continues to exist," Nathi Ram Gupta, chairman of Bharat Industrial Enterprise - Indian rice miller and exporter - told Trend May 31.

He said despite the fact that his company has been selling around 60,000 tons of rice per year in Iran in the past ten years, he still had fears of market decline, due to bans.

Managing director of India's Shree Jagdamba Agrico Exports (P) Ltd Satish Goel agrees.

"This is not good for trade. Prices have been going up here, but the ban has kept us away," he said.

Iran is a major importer of Indian basmati rice. West Asian countries accounted for 75 percent of India's basmati rice exports in 2014-15.

Vijay Sethia, past president of New Delhi-based AIREA, recently said Iran had imported 4 million tons of basmati rice in 2015 compared with 3.7 million tons in the previous year.

Iran's rice production stood at 1.8 million tons in 2015. Iranian households regard the home-grown types to be superior to those imported from India.

The government of Iran holds a general ban on rice imports to support domestic product, with only a one or two months break annually.

Rice is the staple diet for almost half the global population. Over 90% of the global rice output and consumption is centered in Asia, with China and India both the world's largest producers and biggest consumers.

India accounts for over 70% of the world's basmati rice output, which is a small portion of the total rice produced in India. Rice production in India is expected at 103.36 million ton in 2015-16.