The sowing of basmati rice across the key growing areas of Punjab and Haryana has seen a sharp fall of 25% to 1.57 million hectares this kharif season from close to 2 million hectares reported in 2015.

The sowing of basmati rice across the key growing areas of Punjab and Haryana has seen a sharp fall of 25% to 1.57 million hectares this kharif season from close to 2 million hectares reported in 2015, thanks to a fall in realisation from exports.

According to a survey conducted by Basmati Export Development Foundation (BEDF), a body under the commerce ministry, this year the rice-transplanted areas in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu & Kashmir have increased by more than 4.6% to 5.9 million hectares, while the areas under basmati variety have declined in Haryana and Punjab by 11.9% and 43.3%, respectively.

11111In Punjab, basmati rice acreage shrunk by more than 43% to 5 lakh hectares, mainly because of a reduction in the area under short-duration Pusa Basmati-1509. The sowing of this variety has been reduced to only 48,770 hectares this year, from 1.8 lakh hectares reported in 2015. “There has been sharp fall in basmati acreage of Pusa 1509 variety this year compared to last year as the farmers got very low prices,” the report said. In Haryana, the total rice acreage based on field survey has been estimated at 1.29 million hectares in 20 districts, while the area under basmati rice had been reduced by 12.5% to 7.2 lakh hectares compared with last year.

The BEDF report said that in western Uttar Pradesh, the area under basmati rice has reduced by close to 22% to 2.6 lakh hectares, as many farmers have sown sugarcane replacing basmati, speculating quick returns from the state government.

 

“Lower output because reduced acreage in this kharif is expected to push up basmati rice prices,” said a leading exporter. At present, basmati rice prices are ruling around R5,700 to R5,800 per quintal in the Karnal market.

According to data by the Agricultural and Processed Food Development Authority, exports realisation from the basmati rice fell by 17% to R22,714 crore in FY16 in comparison to the previous year. But the volume of exports rose to 4.04 million tonne (mt) from 3.7 mt during the same period. In 2013-14, the country exported basmati rice worth of R29,299 crore.

In April, rating agency ICRA had stated that the domestic basmati rice industry, which is witnessing excess supply and weak demand, may revive in the next harvest season in the second half of 2016-17. “The supply of basmati paddy is expected to witness some moderation as farmers are likely to shift away from basmati, given the non-remunerative prices in the last two crop cycles,” ICRA has stated in its report. The report also stated since Iran, the biggest importer of basmati from India, has removed the ban on rice imports, demand is also expected to improve.

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