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India Basmati regains flavour in overseas marketsqrcode

Oct. 25, 2018

Favorites Print Oct. 25, 2018

India Basmati regains flavour in overseas markets

Basmati from Punjab and Haryana is being sold up to Rs 3,700 per quintal, about a 30 per cent jump in its price over the previous marketing season, after a team of overseas buyers visited farms in the region and found pesticide residue in the crop within the limit.

Exporters said basmati rates have surged 25-30 per cent, depending on the variety, in various mandis. While PUSA-1509, a variety of basmati, is sold at Rs 2,900-3,200 per quintal, PUSA-1121 is selling around Rs 3,600-3,700. The rate of another popular variety, PB-1, is hovering between Rs 3,400 and Rs 3,500 per quintal.

“Basmati growers are getting remunerative prices for their produce this year. Many reasons are attributed to it such as an export order 1 lakh tonnes by four private firms. Besides, many exporters, who have opted for contract farming with local peasants, are offering premium to the farmers for their crop,” All India Rice Exporters Association president Vijay Setia said.

Fourteen companies have entered into contract farming with farmers of these two states, he said. The total sown area under the contract farming in the two states is around 50,000 acres. Favourable weather conditions, barring a few districts, have been also cited as one of the reasons behind handsome returns to the farmers.

The campaign against pesticide use by exporters and the state government has also boosted confidence of the overseas buyers, Punjab Agriculture Secretary KS Pannu said.

Last year, several export consignments of basmati were rejected by the US, the EU and Saudi Arabia because of high pesticide residue. To restrict chemical use and regain importers’ confidence, Indian exporters and the state governments had launched campaigns for pesticide-free basmati this season. The Punjab Rice Millers & Exporters Association is also satisfied with the basmati quality.

Pannu said a team of the US Food and Drug Administration recently visited the paddy-growing areas of the region and was impressed with results of the pesticide-free basmati campaign launched by the Punjab government.

“A team from the EU also visited Punjab last week. We requested it to relax its standards of residue limits. Ideally, it should be comparable to the limits set by the US and Japan,” he said.

The maximum residue limit of the US and Japan are 3 parts per million and 5 ppm for ‘tricyclazole’ (pesticide). The EU's prescribed limit is, however, 1 ppm, which is impossible to meet, he said.

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