Hyderabad: The issue of broken rice and parboiled rice is far from over. While the Telangana government came to the rescue of farmers and decided to procure nearly 65 lakh tonnes of paddy during Yasangi this year, experts feel that the Centre must take immediate measures to tap export potential. Ever since the issue of […]
Hyderabad: The issue of broken rice and parboiled rice is far from over. While the Telangana government came to the rescue of farmers and decided to procure nearly 65 lakh tonnes of paddy during Yasangi this year, experts feel that the Centre must take immediate measures to tap export potential.
Ever since the issue of parboiled rice has come to the fore, the BJP-led union government has been projecting it as an issue pertaining to Telangana. It tried all methods to blame the TRS government and also kept the onus on the latter to procure paddy, but deliver only raw rice to the central pool as there was no demand for the parboiled rice in the country.
Further, union Food Minister Piyush Goyal told the Parliament that the Centre procured rice according to a memorandum of understanding signed with the States, which allows the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the option of specifying the type of rice – white or parboiled – that it would procure. However, he did not explain why the Centre used to procure parboiled rice earlier.
Parboiled rice is one of the preferred rice in not only India, but also in over 150 other countries across the world. While the Centre tried to project it as a problem of a couple of States like Telangana and Odisha, it appears that States like West Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh too consume parboiled rice. However, only two States – Telangana and Odisha are producing surplus parboiled rice in excess to their needs.
At present, the Centre holds total parboiled rice stock of 40.58 lakh tonnes as on April 1, 2022, which it claimed would cater to the needs for next two years. As per the West Bengal agriculture department data, about 90 per cent of the population consumes parboiled rice and the State relies on other States for supplies amounting to about 15-20 lakh tonnes every year.
Parboiled rice also has demand in over 150 countries across the world. When Telangana suggested the Centre to look into export options, Piyush Goyal said the union government cannot directly export rice to other countries due to restrictions from the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
But as per the data furnished by the Director General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, non-basmati rice including parboiled rice, has been exported to 152 countries, the combined value of which is $2,307.39 million. Approximately $3,000 million of non-basmati rice was exported every year from 2017-18 onwards until last year. In the last six seasons, export of parboiled rice has increased from 34.42 lakh MT in 2015-16 to 61.75 lakh MT in 2020-21. Countries like Nepal, UAE and USA are largest consumers of parboiled rice from India.
This was released by TRS working president and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao recently to expose the double standards of the Centre. He argued that though the Centre had the potential to export around one crore tonnes, it was not exploring the possibilities and not even making any attempts to amend the existing laws. After the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) exposed the Centre over its refusal to purchase parboiled rice despite its growing demand abroad, Odisha’s Biju Janta Dal (BJD) to joined the chorus. BJD Rajya Sabha member Amar Patnaik on Saturday questioned the Centre’s decision not to procure parboiled rice from the State despite its huge export potential.
If the Centre eases the export restrictions or finds a way to circuvent the WTO restrictions by facilitating private traders to export parboiled rice, it can easily clear the existing stocks and create demand for fresh parboiled rice production.
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