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interview

European recession hasn’t hurt Basmati as it is a speciality rice Founded in 1915, the Amira Group continues now to be owned by the same family. It has evolved from trading to processing, branding and distribution of rice and agro commodities. Quality-control, and consumer-friendly leadership are its strong points. In an engaging chat with Agri Business & Food Industry, Karan A. Chanana, Chairman, Amira Group, tells about global basmati trade scenario, India’s status, and his own brand’s future plans, among other things. Excerpts: facing tough competition from Pakistan? What are your views on this? India is and always will remain a leader qualitatively and quantitatively. Indian basmati is far superior in quality and this enables the price premium.

Karan A. Chanana

Please tell us about overall scenario of global Basmati trade, India’s position in the international markets, and your own company’s status? Basmati is a speciality rice and is approximately 1 per cent of the global production and 3-4 per cent of the value. Amira is the largest private rice company in India, covering 40 countries, and is growing further. Recession in Europe is hurting Indian basmati exports, but at the same time, the demands at other international regions are high as well. Do you think due to this, this recession has negligible impact on Indian basmati exporters? European recession has ' not ' hurt basmati as basmati is a speciality rice. Gulf market is a major destination of Indian basmati. But now India is

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Iraq has been a traditional buyer of India’s basmati, but according to a news story, recent US political pressure is forcing Iraqi importers to buy US longgrain rice instead of Indian basmati. Is it a matter of concern for Indian exporters, or do you think government should do something? Iraq government is buying USA long grain for its food distribution. Indian basmati rice consumption has grown hugely in Iraq and Indian basmati exports to Iraq are growing. Iran has been a major buyer of India’s basmati despite tough US sanctions. But it is facing payment issue. Does it affect the trade badly, or is there any relaxation in regard to payment issue? Iran is a market which will remain uncertain till sanctions remain and can’t be relied upon. If we compare exports with domestic markets, we see that domestic markets are no less strong. In fact it is more lucrative. But due to lack of proper branding and distribution centres, the picture is not as great as it should be. What are your views, and would you expand in domestic markets in near future? Domestic market actually carries huge potential. As the modern trade grows and the infrastructure in India grows, the market will take further prominence. Amira Foods is concentrating and

AgriBusiness & Food Industry w October 2012

expanding its presence in the domestic market and has opened its first depot for direct distribution. It will open many more such depots, going forward, enabling depth of distribution. Modern retailing is emerging as a strong segment where the profit margins of retailers are high and low for rice traders. Despite this, rice traders are keen to sell basmati to retailers as the bulk of basmati consumers are high-end customers. Can you share your thoughts on this trend, and your experience with a retailer like Food Bazar, Spencer or Reliance Mart? Modern trade is actually good for the professional brand owners as it allows pricing and branding to be controlled by the brand owner. Modern trade profit margins are the same globally and no different in India. We at Amira find better margins with modern trade as there is total transparency. Most of the Basmati traders are entering value-added segments due to reasons like new generation’s preference of readyto eat food and snacks, and high profit margins. Do you have any plan to do the same? Amira has actively innovated and have introduced 'KHEER Rice and KHICHDI Rice'' which other people have copied and followed from us. Amira has entered the large snacks segment with Amira snacks. We at Amira always set the trend for others to follow allowing us to be a 'natural leader' Any other thoughts, ideas, suggestions? The basmati rice industry must enforce standards for sale in the domestic market. n

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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