India to soon start exporting rice to China

Rio de Janeiro: India will soon start exporting rice to China as the two countries have resolved the quality and other regulatory issues. Briefing reporters about the outcome of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the Rio+20 Environment Summit here, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said that Indian rice exports to China will commence soon.

The two neighbouring countries have mutually sorted out the issues concerning quarantine protocol paving the way for export of premium basmati rice. India is the world`s second largest rice producer after China. But, basmati rice is grown only in India and Pakistan. India exported 2.4 million tonnes of basmati rice last fiscal, out of total output of 3.5 million tonnes. In September last year, the Indian government permitted export of non-basmati rice. Since then, over 5 million tonnes of non-basmati rice has been shipped.

Chinese authorities have given the green light for Indian exports of basmati rice after a long and taxing 6-year process. Negotiations on the issue of rice exports were on since 2006, when President Hu Jintao visited India. It took another visit from Hu six years later, when he travelled to New Delhi last month for the BRICS Summit in April, to give the final push to a long-running process.