By Mayank Bhardwaj
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India will allow exports of non-basmati white rice to a clutch of countries such as the Philippines – one of the world’s biggest importers of the grain – a government order said on Wednesday.
India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, in July banned overseas shipments of non-basmati white rice and later imposed a 20% tax on parboiled rice cargoes to keep a lid on local prices and ensure sufficient supplies in the domestic market.
But New Delhi said it would still consider requests for supplies of rice from needy, vulnerable countries on a case-by-case basis.
India would supply 295,000 tonnes of non-basmati white rice to the Philippines.
The Philippines, which usually depends on Vietnam for most of its import requirements, is struggling to tame inflation, and its President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has set rice price ceilings to keep rates in check.
Other than the Philippines, New Delhi will also supply non-basmati white rice to Nepal, Cameroon, Malaysia, Seychelles, Ivory Coast and the Republic of Guinea.
Cumulatively, India will sell a little over 1 million metric tons to the seven countries.
In August, India allowed some rice exports to Bhutan, Mauritius and Singapore.
India is unlikely to consider any more request for rice supplies until farmers gather their new-season crop, a government source said.
Indian farmers have just started harvesting the rice crop. Although growers have planted a bigger area with rice this year, patchy rains in some parts of the country could hit crop yields.
The government is keen to shore up its inventories by buying large volumes of the new season harvest from farmers. A bigger crop and higher purchases by the government will alleviate concerns about lower local supplies.
Separately, a government statement said Indian farmers produced 135.7 million metric tons of rice in the crop year to June 2023, up from 129.4 million metric tons produced in the previous year.
Wheat output totalled 110.5 million metric tons against 107.7 million metric tons in the previous year.
(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj and Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Christopher Cushing, Alexandra Hudson)