Iran gives clean chit to Indian basmati rice
Tehran, September 30, 2009
Iran has given a clean chit to the Indian premium basmati rice, which was banned in the country after finding contaminated by Iran’s Standard Institute of Industrial Research laboratory.
Iran’s Hygiene Minister said that authorites had cleared 20,000 tonnes of Indian Basmati rice out of the 40,000 tonnes lying in various ports.
Earlier, an Iranian government laboratory, Standard Institute of Industrial Research, had claimed that Indian rice contained arsenic, lead and cadmium and did not have nutrition value, according to a report in Commodity Online.
The laboratory also claimed that the increase in time on cooking of this rice was not natural but due to contamination by chemicals. Iran had subsequently banned the import of Indian and Pakistan rice.
Meanwhile, the Iranian parliament has urged the government to launch an inquiry into alleged contaminated Indian basmati rice, state-run Press TV reported on its website.
However, the farmers of Punjab and Haryana, the major basmati producing states in India, who have banked heavily on this variety by doubling the area under it, may suffer badly this season with the prices of the popular 1121 variety expected to come down steeply.
Meanwhile, Rice Exporters Association former president Vijay Setia said the internationally renowned SGS laboratory, which had also been given rice samples for testing by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, was also likely to make its report public in a day or two.
He said the Standard Institute of Iran was also slated to give its final report on the issue soon. The controversy has, however, reduced the price of the popular 1121 rice variety and traders don't expect this price to increase due to a bumper harvest of this variety expected in both Punjab and Haryana.
The 1121 variety, which was purchased by traders last year at an average price of Rs 3,000 per quintal, is at present selling at Rs 2,200 per quintal. This is expected to go down to Rs 1,600 to Rs 1,800 per quintal once fresh stocks start arriving in the market, the report said.