India urged to lift rice export ban
Manama, October 24, 2007
A leading UAE businessman has stepped into the row over India's ban on the non-basmati rice exports claiming it will hit Gulf NRIs.
Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce board member and prominent businessman M A Yusuffali has written to the Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath highlighting the plight of NRIs in the Gulf.
He pointed out that the majority of Indians living in the region are dependent on non-basmati rice and the government ban will deprive them of their staple diet.
In his letter he said: "The majority of NRIs here are also those who fall into the low-income group and switching to basmati rice is practically impossible."
He said stocks of non-basmati rice in the region were fast running out and intervention was required to prevent an alarming situation.
Yusuffali also called on all Indian associations and the media to put pressure on the Indian government to lift the ban.
Explaining the rationale behind the ban on export of non-basmati rice earlier this month, Agriculture and Food Minister Sharad Pawar said the decision was taken to build adequate stocks in the country.
"We would like to procure and maintain sufficient stock for our country," Pawar said on the sidelines of a conference on climate change.
The decision to ban export of non-basmati rice was taken after assessing the global availability of the commodity, he said, adding that the efforts were aimed at keeping the rice prices stable as had been done in the case of wheat. -TradeArabia News Service