Wednesday, October 29, 2014

India’s basmati export increased by 50%

Sam Mohanty (Photo by G Salabsabin, IRRI)

BANGKOK, Thailand - “The value of India’s basmati export increased by 50% from US$3 billion to $ 4.5 billion this year,” said Sam Mohanty, senior economist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Thanks to the country’s two major basmati varieties: Pusa 1121, a variety released in 2003 and Pusa Basmati 1509, which released in 2013. Pusa 1121 is a popular variety grown in 60% of India’s 2.6 million hectares of basmati rice production.

This was what Dr. Mohanty reported during the Global Rice Market and Trade Summit, held in Bangkok, Thailand, today (28 October 2014). The summit is a part of the 2014 International Rice Congress, the world's largest gathering of rice science and industry held every four years.

Pusa Basmati 1509 is an early-maturing variety of 120 days while the older basmati version matures in 145 days. “Harvesting a crop 25 days earlier means a lot to the farmers because it allows them to plant another crop such as wheat, a higher-value cash crop,” added Dr. Mohanty. Also, Pusa Basmati 1509 yields higher at an average of 6.5 tons per hectare while Pusa 1121 yields around 4.5 tons—a 40%-yield increase from Pusa 1121.

Iran is India’s biggest export market for basmati rice. The country imported more than 1.4 million tons in 2013-14. Other basmati importers include Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, USA, and the United Kingdom. In the same year, these countries imported around 200,000 tons, on average.

Around 1,500 participants from 69 countries are attending the 4th International Rice Congress, or IRC2014, at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC).

IRC2014 is being held under the patronage of the Royal Government of Thailand, specifically the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, and is touted as the “Olympics of rice science,” being the largest gathering of rice science and industry held every four years. 

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