India’s rice exporters are gearing up to ship the grain to the Philippines from next month as the Southeast Asian nation has reduced the import duty on rice being shipped from India to 35% from 50%. Philippines is the second-largest importer of the commodity in the world.

“We will be exporting non-basmati rice to the country. We are currently looking into the modalities of export to Philippines,” president of the Rice Exporters Association, BV Krishna Rao, told ET. “Exporters are keen to start shipments to the Southeast Asian nation by end of next month. One good thing is that India is now on a par with other ASEAN countries in terms of import tariff.”

The annual rice import in the Philippines is estimated to be about 2.5 million tonnes, about 2 million tonnes of high quality rice and half a million tonnes of lower quality rice. Vietnam and Thailand supply mainly the high quality fragrant and glutinous varieties to the country.

Rao said the main problem that the rice exporters are facing is lower availability of break bulk vessels. “Non-availability of containers has already impacted the trade as prices of containers have gone up. Now, there is lesser availability of break bulk vessels which is posing a problem to rice exports,” he said.

In 2020-21, India’s rice exports almost doubled to an all-time high of 17.7 metric tonnes from 9.5 metric tonne in the previous financial year. There was an almost 4% increase in basmati exports to 4.45 metric tonnes and a 160% surge in non-basmati rice exports to 13.09 metric tonnes, according to data with Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.

In value terms, while the non-basmati rice segment more than doubled to $4.8 billion ( Rs 35,448 crore), even higher than basmati, there was a drop of 7% to $4 billion (Rs 29,849 crore) in shipments of aromatic varieties.

“In the current fiscal, we expect to achieve last year’s export figure of non-basmati rice variety,” said Rao.

Source: Economic Times