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US-Iran crisis hits rice exporters, hundreds of Containers stuck at Gujarat Port

Indian rice exports to Iran have been hit hard by the growing tensions between the United States and Iran.

The rice exporters, a sizeable chunk of whom are from Haryana, have stopped the second shipment to Iran after the first shipment containing hundreds of containers was stopped at the Mundra Port in Gujarat.

One of the leading rice exporters based in Kaithal, Narinder Miglani recently said that most of the exporters had initiated their first shipment of this season which has now been withheld.

Fate of the shipments is uncertain now

“I had sent more than 100 containers to Mundra 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,” Narendra Miglani said.

Miglani said that the rice exports normally start in the first week of January every year and continue till June. This is a six-month business.

We have received up to 80 per cent of the payments and 20 per cent have still not been released: rice exporter Miglani

"Iran had withheld the payments following some currency issue. We have received up to 80 per cent of the payments and 20 per cent have still not been released. However, we trusted the buyers and started sending the shipments to Iran this year," says Narinder Miglani.

Rice exporters now fear that the US-Iran crisis will have a depressing impact on rice sales in India. Prices of Pusa 1121, a popular basmati rice variety in India and abroad, has seen a drop of Rs 150 per quintal within a couple of days. This variety of basmati rice was being sold at Rs 3,050 (per quintal) which dropped to Rs 2,900 per quintal.

In 2019, India exported basmati rice worth Rs 32,800 crore, out of which rice worth Rs 10,800 crore was imported by Iran. However, the exporters are yet to receive payments amounting to more than Rs 500 crore from Iran.

Indian exporters now are estimating that if the situation did not improve it will badly impact rice farmers and exporters both.

 

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