Escalating tensions between USA and Iran will adversely impact the Indian rice industry say rice exporters, who are already facing a crunch as payments amounting to Rs 900 crore have not been forthcoming from Iran since May last year.

Now they feel, the Iran-USA clash may disturb India’s rice trade with Iran, which is the biggest consumer of the Indian aromatic long-grained basmati rice and imports about 25% of India’s total rice exports amounting to 4.5 million tonne every year.

Talking to HT, All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA ) president Nathi Ram Gupta said, “The growing tension between Iran and US will definitely affect India’s rice industry as traders are worried about exportsto Iran.”

Of the total export of Rs1200 crores last year, only Rs 300 crores was paid. Exporters say they are not in a position to continue their trade with Iran, he said. As soon as reports of conflict between US Iran came in, traders stopped exports immediately.

As per figures by AIREA, Iran is the largest basmati importer from India which in the past three years had increased to 14.83 lakh MT (Rs 10790 crore) in 2018-19 from 7.16 lakh MT (Rs 3778 crore) in 2016-17.

“This is not a good news for people associated with rice industry, especially for farmers and traders,” said Naresh Kumar a rice trader from Kurukshetra. He said that the traders were suffering due to delayed payment from Iran and during this Kharif season farmers had to sell their produce at Rs 2000 to Rs 2,800 per quintal against Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,500 per quintal last year. Rice exporters believe that prices of paddy may fall further if Iran-USA clash escalates further.

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