‘India may lift rice export ban in four-five months’

June 17th, 2008 - 9:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) Anticipating a record harvest and procurement of paddy in the coming season, a top official Tuesday said the current ban on export of rice may be relaxed over the next four-five months. “October-November is the time when the government may think of lifting the ban on the export of rice,” Commerce Secretary G.K. Pillai told reporters here, on the margins of an international conference on diamond trade.

“I think if the rice crop is good in November, we will be comfortable on both rice and wheat. We are expecting about 94 million tonnes of rice harvest. This means we will have 3-4 million surplus rice for export,” Pillai said.

He said the country was comfortable with this year’s wheat production, resulting in a record procurement by official agencies at 22.02 million tonnes as on June 12, as against 11.13 million tonnes last year.

India banned the export of non-basmati rice March 31 to rein in inflation, which soared to a seven-year high of 8.75 percent for the week ended May 31.

As per official estimates, India’s demand for rice will touch 128 million tonnes by 2012, which will require a productivity of 3,000 kilograms per hectare, as against the present average yield of 1,930 kilograms per hectare.

The consumption, on the other hand, was 88.25 million tonnes in 2006-07, while production was a little over 92 million tonnes. The government’s target is 129 million tonnes by 2011-12, with the growth of 3.7 percent.

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