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Indian rice exports slow as coronavirus disrupts supply chain

Indian rice exports slow as coronavirus disrupts supply chain

Uncertainty looms over the export of basmati rice and tea to Iran as the Central Bank of Iran has slowed down the allocation of a currency against which Iranian traders were buying these commodities from India.

Indian basmati rice exporters said they are not entering into a new contract with Iranian importers so as to avoid any payment-related problems. Meanwhile, tea traders said export to Iran may stop within a month if the payment issue is not resolved. This would impact the trade in orthodox teas as Iran is India’s biggest buyer in this category.

India exported 1.156 million tonnes of basmati rice in the first quarter of FY20, according to AIREA statistics. According to Kaul, in April of FY21, India exported 429,000 tonnes of basmati rice, of which only 50,966 tonnes were exported to Iran.

“Getting payment from Iran has become a major issue. There is no clarity on whether the rupee reserve of UCO Bank and IDBI Bank has come down or not. Exports to Iran in the first quarter have fallen significantly due to the lockdown. The exporters are not doing any new contracts with Iran,” Vinod Kaul, executive director at All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), told ET.

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