Steamed rice does not fall under the raw rice category says the food corporation of India (FCI)
The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has informed the Food Ministry that steamed rice does not fit under the category of raw (white) rice because it has undergone some processing in the form of steaming before being sold.
This should come as a comfort to exporters after steamed rice shipments were halted because customs authorities misidentified it as non-basmati white rice and demanded payment of a 20% export tariff beginning September 9.
‘Exports of steamed rice are treated as non-basmati white rice because it does not come under parboiled rice,’ BV Krishna Rao, President of the Rice Exporters Association of India, said on September 20. As a result, exporters must incur the 20% export tariff.’
The issue arose after India put restrictions on rice exports, including a prohibition on entirely broken rice and a 20% levy on non-basmati white rice. Basmati and parboiled rice are exempt from tariffs.
The Indian government decided to reduce rice shipments after kharif rice area fell 5.5% and central pool stockpiles with the FCI fell to a three-year low. Rice stockpiles with the FCI were 20.46 million tonnes (mt) as of October 1, while unmilled paddy stocks were 11.82 mt.
FCI said in a letter to the Food Ministry’s joint secretary and senior economic advisor Mamta Shankar on September 29, a copy of which was made available to businessline, that hydrothermal treatment of rice was being done as per the process provided by the UP Rice Exporters Association.
UPREA said it was exporting rice that had already been cooked, so it didn’t have to pay the 20% export tax.
Parboiled Rice vs steamed Rice
FCI explained that paddy milling was done in two methods, saying that in the case of steamed rice, paddy was soaked in water and steamed to get ‘gelatinized rice.’ According to the firm, ‘this plugs any gap within the rice, enabling it to grow harder and resulting in increased milling yield with fewer breakage.’
According to the FCI, parboiled rice, on the other hand, is soaked, steamed, and dried, according to the FCI, who said that the difference between raw and parboiled rice may be seen visually.
Following that, the Food Ministry may raise the matter with the Commerce Ministry in order to clear up any confusion around steamed rice shipments.
Steamed rice commands a premium of almost $600 per tonne, and Nepal is the primary client, importing nearly one million tonnes. Steamed rice is consumed by non-resident Indians in the Gulf area.
UPREA raised the issue with the Centre after experiencing difficulties exporting steamed rice to the Himalayan kingdom. Also Read |Thanks to ban on broken rice exports, retail rice prices remain in control
According to the Food Ministry, 31.62 lakh tonnes (lt) of parboiled rice was exported between April and August of this fiscal year, while 21.86 lt of white rice was shipped. Basmati consignments accounted for 18.76 lt of the total, with 94.68 lakh tonnes of rice exported. Rice shipments totaled a record 212.32 lt last fiscal year.