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Vol 9....... Issue 10 ...... October 2012

10

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orial Edit

nion Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s recent statement on government’s intention to continue with its export policy on agricultural commodities like rice, wheat and sugar is indeed significant. He has sought to set at rest doubts in the minds of exporters, particularly rice traders, by saying that the government is against a ‘switch-on and switch-off’ policy on exports. The current export policy would continue and “I don’t see any problem.” Pawar’s statement gains strength mainly from two factors – revival of the south west monsoon and the existing rice stock position. The change of monsoon’s mood to show its benign face in the second half of the crop season has considerably reduced the feared rain deficit, raising hopes of a reasonably good harvest of rice, though, according to the advance estimates of Agriculture Ministry, it is well below last year’s record level. Reports from states show that the crops, adversely affected this year because of erratic rains, are mainly coarse cereals, pulses and oilseeds, barring soyabean. As for rice stocks in the government godowns, they stand at a level which is five times the prescribed buffer stock norms. The Minister’s statement on farm export policy is welcome in the context of another development in international rice trade. There have been reports that five important rice exporting countries in south-east Asia – Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar – are considering to form an alliance to share information and cooperate in production and marketing so as to increase rice export prices. A news report appearing in International Herald Tribune has quoted Yanyong Phuangrach, Thailand’s Permanent Secretary for Commerce, as having said in Bangkok that the aim is to form the alliance by the end of the year. Interestingly, International Grain Council, based in London, has estimated that the combined rice trade of Thailand and Vietnam – which usually control nearly half the global trade – would fall to 38 per cent this year as India is emerging as the world’s largest rice exporter. After the government of India lifted the three-and-a-half-year export ban in September last year, the country’s rice shipments have gone up substantially. Sharad Pawar told the Economic Editors' conference that India rice exports in 2011-12 touched 10 million tonnes, including 3.5 million tonnes of Basmati rice. The latest move by five south-east Asian countries to form an alliance follows rice prices remaining relatively stable, unlike wheat, corn and soyabean, which have moved up because of droughts in many exporting countries. In trade circles in India, however, there is skepticism about the new alliance of exporting countries taking shape in the near future. They point out that despite lobbying by Thailand with rice exporters in the region to keep the prices high, Vietnam cut its export prices in response to India’s removal of the export ban last year. Besides there are fears, as expressed by a top official of Vietnam Southern Food Corporation, the country’s largest rice exporter, that any concerted effort to boost prices could lead to protests by rice importing countries waging a fight against hunger. Alliance or no alliance, trade expects a rise in prices this year because of wayward behaviour of monsoon in India, world’s second biggest rice producer, together with play of market forces. It is keeping a close watch on unfolding developments. Comments are welcome at: mediatoday@vsnl.com Views expressed by individuals and contributors in the magazine are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of “AgriBusiness & Food Industry” editorial board. AgriBusiness & Food Industry does not accept any responsibility of any direct, indirect or consequential damage caused to any party due to views expressed by any one or more persons in the trade. All disputes are to be referred to Delhi Jurisdiction only. .....Editor

AgriBusiness & Food Industry w October 2012

AGRI BUSINESS & FOOD INDUSTRY  

India's only monthly magazine having maximum presence in National & International Exhibitions. Regular topics cover the food processing sect...

AGRI BUSINESS & FOOD INDUSTRY  

India's only monthly magazine having maximum presence in National & International Exhibitions. Regular topics cover the food processing sect...

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