“In the current situation, it is not possible to export basmati rice to Iran. We have issued an advisory to our members to be cautious and not to execute further shipments till the situation gets clearer,” said Nathi Ram Gupta, president of the All India Rice Exporters Association, or AIREA. “We are in a precarious situation. We have urged the Indian government to step in to ensure that our dues are cleared by Iran.”
Vijay Setia, former president of AIREA, warned that: “our exports to Iran will definitely fall this year and that is going to drag down both the country’s basmati and non-basmati rice exports. We’re worried on two counts of India’s falling rice exports and our mounting dues.”
AIREA has advised Indian rice traders to stop shipping to Iran. “If exporters choose to ship basmati rice to Iran, they will do so entirely at their risk,” said an advisory from AIREA.
Setia further warned: “Due to the current situation in Iran, we will have to focus on [the] local market, which may lead to a fall in the prices.”
Gupta opined the issue will not be sorted out until India stops buying crude oil from Iran. “When we ask the [Indian] government to look into the matter, we are told to send rice by taking money in advance. It says the millers are responsible for their payment,” he said.
Amarjit Chhabra, president of Haryana Rice Exporters Association, said the northwestern state of Haryana alone contributed 40% of the total basmati rice exports of India. “We are worried about our payment and decided to export rice by taking money in advance,” he said.
A rice exporter based in Kaithal, Haryana named Narinder Miglani told Indian TV that he is withholding further shipments to Iran.
“I had sent more than 100 containers [of rice] to Mundra [port in Gujarat, India] which were about to be shipped to the Bandar-Abbas and Chabahar ports of Iran. We have withheld further shipment until the situation improves. We are not packing the rice now as the fate of the shipments is uncertain,” he said. “Iran had withheld the payments following some currency issue. We have received up to 80% of the payments and 20% have still not been released. However, we trusted the buyers and started sending the shipments to Iran this year.”
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