DUE TO COVID-19, IMPORTING COUNTRIES WANT TO BUILD STOCKS
unjab’ own aromatic, long grained, premium is preferred across the globe. Exporters from the state’s premium grain are upbeat as they are flush with orders from across the world. The basmati exports from Punjab are expected to touch 2.4 million tonne.
The orders are mainly for the 1,121 and 1,718 varieties of the aromatic rice, which is liked by the elite across the world. The capitalists and the rich class of the developed world adore the grain from Punjab.
In 2016, on the orders of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), Chennai based Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) has issued ‘Geographical Indication’ tag for basmati rice. In the tagging Punjab is one the few key geographical location in the world as being native of the aromatic variety long grain. There are six other states
in the Indo-Gangetic plains on the foot hills of Himalayas, the crop grow best in Punjab.
Pakistan Punjab also grows quality basmati, but what is preferred worldwide is the grain in East Punjab (Punjab on India’s side).
PUNJAB’S BASMATI IS LIKED ACROSS WORLD
Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Syria, Kuwait, the European Union, and the North American countries – USA and Canada are major basmati importers. Until 2018, Iran was a major importer of basmati as it would order 1.4 million tonnes of the rice every year. As Iran has no direct trade with India, it is expected to buy basmati from Dubai-based traders who import the aromatic rice from Punjab and elsewhere in the country.
For many centuries Punjab has been growing this crop which any of the other countries in the world can’t grow. Punjab is best suited to grow basmati as its climatic condition to suit the crop, soil is best and there is abundant availability of water.
The premium grain has seen a turn-around in two years as it suffered a setback in 2018 when hundreds of consignments were returned by the European Union (EU) and countries in the Middle East due to traces of fungicide in the grain.
Once again, huge demand for the premium grain was possible as the state’s basmati growers have been able to control the use of fungicides and pesticides in the crop. Besides, amid the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, the rice distributors in the destination countries are keen on piling up stocks.
This time, basmati traders have started bookings even before the sowing of the crop. July 31 is the deadline to transplant basmati saplings. The exporters are pegging a yearly sale of USD 36,000 million as the crop goes for harvest in October-November. The area under the crop has also expanded to 0.7 million hectares.
India exports 4 million tonnes every year, and 2 million tonne is exported from Punjab. The state’s border belt: Tarn Taran, Amritsar and Gurdaspur are main producers of the rice. Other areas Sangrur, Moga and Fazilka also grow the rice, the quality of rice cultivated there is not that fine.
“We are very excited as entire sector is upbeat with the demand we have received from all over the world. Also, the farmers would be big gainers due to large demand for their crop,” said Ashok Sethi who is a director with the rice exporters association.
He adds that Punjab’s basmati is best in the world and also the hard work by farmers can’t be denied. The association, Sethi said has educated basmati growers the best practices in cultivation of thje premium and result are before everyone and all re upbeat with the worldwide demand.