India’s basmati-rice exports are expected to pick up, as key importer Saudi Arabia is set to adopt easy residue parameters to take delivery of consignments. With India taking steps to reduce the deposit of harmful chemicals on rice, local authorities expect the European Union also step up imports from India.
India is the top exporter in the Rs 26,000-crore global basmati market. Shipments from the country to Saudi have taken a hit after Riyadh sought undertakings from exporters on minimum residue levels (MRL). Also, Saudi rejected a few consignments of Indian rice from a Singapore-based company. Since the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has not defined MRLs, customs authorities rejected the consignments based on the stringent lowest limit of analytical determination criteria followed by the EU and the US.
The SFDA is now set to formulate its own, easier MRLs in the coming months, trade executives said. In fact, with India taking up the issue with the Saudi authorities, exports to that country have already improved, they added.
The recent dialogue with authorities in Saudi Arabia has resulted in a positive outcome and exports have normalised to the country, said AK Gupta, director of the Basmati Export Development Fund, an arm of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.