Paddy farmers in the Hadoti region of Rajasthan and some other parts of India are selling their basmati quality paddy production at half of last year’s value, which is the largest market it exports to Iran, United States trade against the Gulf state Has fallen due to restrictions. About one third of the rice exported from India goes to Iran.
“I have recently sold 20 quintals of quality Bundi rice for Rs 2000 per quintal. About three years ago, the price was Rs 4000 per quintal, ”said Manveer Singh Virk, a paddy grower from Surajmal Nagar in Bundi district, Rajasthan.
Virk said that due to the fall in prices, he was unable to recover the cost from Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per acre for farming. “Rice farming is not as profitable as it used to be.”
Hashoti Kisan Union general secretary Dasaratha Kumar said that the rice produced in the Kota region is mostly exported because of its basmati-like aroma and thin and long rice grains. “The demand is high in Iran because of its taste and smell,” he said.
According to the Rajasthan Agriculture Department, rice was grown on about 1.12 hectares of land in Hadoti area this year and the estimated rice production would be around 4 lakh metric tonnes.
But, farmers are not getting the best price for their crop as exports to Gulf-Iran have diminished due to tense relations between the US and Iran. Farmer leader Jagdish Kumar said, “With the decline in rice exports from the Kota region due to sanctions against Iran by the US, prices have fallen drastically.”
Ramavatar Sharma, Joint Director, Agriculture, Kota Region, agreed and said that the prices had come down due to low export demand.
According to the US State Department website, the US imposed several economic sanctions against Iran earlier this year to support Tehran’s terrorist groups. The sanctions are intended as a punishment for Iran’s nuclear program and alleged violations of human rights.
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The US also asked countries not to buy crude oil from Iran. The steep fall in international oil prices during the Kovid-19 epidemic severely affected Iran’s cash flow.
Nilesh Patel, a rice exporter, said Iran was the major buyer of rice produced in the Hadoti region, but its purchasing power had declined during the Kovid-19 epidemic, due to declining crude oil prices and US restrictions on its oil sales. Because of the situation.
According to an estimate by the All India Rice Exporters Association, in 2019-20, India exported rice worth Rs 32,000 crore, of which around 10,800 crore was exported to Iran alone. Earlier this year, the association issued an advisory to all its members, stating that they should be vigilant and not send rice shipments to Iran until the situation improves.
“The dues of large Indian exporters to the tune of Rs 800 crore are still pending with Iranian firms. We have not paid for exports in the last year and therefore traders are not ready to export rice on credit, ”said Patel.
Managing member of Chauthmal Nagar, University of Agriculture, Kota, cited Kovid-19 as the main reason for low demand for high quality rice in the Gulf countries and poor price of Hadoti rice.
However, farmers and rice traders in the area believe that the situation may change with Donald Trump taking over as US President in January 2021.
Dasaratha Kumar said that now with the election of Joe Biden as the new US President, rice farmers hope for a revival of rice exports. He said that the farmers’ organizations of Hadoti region are asking the central government to resolve the issues of rice exports, claiming that it can help in getting the right price for the farmers in the domestic market.
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