India relaxes ban on rice exports, allows export of 350,000 tonnes to Gambia and Senegal

WEST AFRICA – The Indian government has approved the export of 350,000 tonnes of broken rice to Senegal and Gambia after six months of the ban, Agence Ecofin has reported.

In September last year, India banned exports of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on exports of various other types to boost its local supplies and calm prices after below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

However, the new announcement has signified a change in policy as the world’s biggest exporter of grain partially relaxes the ban on what they have termed “special consideration” for the west African countries.

Citing The Hindu Business LineAgence Ecofin revealed that the announcement was sent by the Indian Ministry of Finance to Chief commissioners of customs allowing the export of broken rice to Gambia and Senegal.

In detail, The Gambia will benefit from a shipment of 100,000 tons of the cereal commodity while Senegal will get 250,000 tons of the commodity.  

The ban had a severe impact on countries, particularly in the West that depend on imports to make up for the shortfall in their local production

Gambia imports more than 170,000 tons, or 80% of national needs every year while Senegal buys between 1.2 and 1.5 million tonnes of the basic foodstuff on the international market, more than half of which comes from India

In addition to the two countries, India has allowed shipments of 9,990 tonnes of broken rice to Djibouti, Ethiopia in a bid to support the countries with the important commodity.

The intention for the authorization by the authorities is, however, not specified so far as there were no reasons given for the lifting of the ban or the window period.

However, a trade analyst said exports to Gambia, Senegal, and Djibouti have been approved by the Commerce Ministry following a request from the Ministry of External Affairs underpinned by motivations of a “strategic “nature.

In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture is positive that from the current crop year to June, rice production will be sufficient for both local needs and export.

According to the ministry forecast, rice production will reach a record 130.84 million tonnes against 129.47 million tonnes in the last crop year.

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