Basmati Rice Prices Shoot Up Due To Adverse Weather Conditions And Policy Changes
Intermittent rains during October 2021 have caused severe damage to paddy fields in several parts of India and production is expected to decline by up to 20 percent. As a direct impact, the price of Basmati has already increased by as much as Rs. 2000 per quintal.
A few instances recording low production and quality erosion of Basmati Rice:
R S Pura is known as the rice bowl of Jammu and Kashmir. It is also one of the prominent areas where the internationally acclaimed Basmati rice is grown. The farmers in the region were at a loss when a massive three days hailstorm caused significant damage to their standing rice crop in the month of October 2021. Local farmers talk about not witnessing such devastation in a long time which ruined their six months-long hard work as well as the investments they had made in their fields.
Basmati is long slender grained rice with a distinct aroma that has touched the palate of food connoisseurs the world over and placed regions such as R S Pura on the world market.
The farmers had tended to their crops last year with the temporary relief that they had obtained in the aftermath of the ceasefire between India and Pakistan and without the fear of Pakistani shelling. However, the hailstorm did not allow them to reap their harvests. They also had to think about clearing and preparing their fields for the next season in the aftermath of the devastation caused by the natural calamity.
Untimely rain and hailstorm also hit Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran and Amritsar districts, flattening paddy crops and drenching tons of paddy lying in mandis across the state. Apart from causing serious damage to the standing crop, the adverse weather conditions delayed harvesting in parts of the state. The rain and hailstorm are also most likely to cause shriveling, blackening and discoloration of the basmati grains.
A corresponding increase in prices of Basmati Rice:
It has been a few weeks since the devastation and the increase in the prices of this aromatic rice variety has been a continuous one from the wholesale markets to the retail markets.
Impact of policy changes on Basmati prices:
The rise in exports from India due to a worldwide demand for basmati and the effect of the Indian Government increasing the minimum support prices of rabi produce have further strengthened the upward trend in prices of the grain.
In September 2021, the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) under the chairmanship of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the increase in Minimum Support Prices for rabi crops such as Masur (lentil), rapeseeds, mustard, gram, and safflower for the marketing season 2022-23. This has been done so that farmers get remunerative prices for their produce and also to encourage crop diversification. As an extension of this policy initiative, farmers have grown crops that the government is buying other than Basmati.
All these factors have weighed in together and the mill production price of 1121 grade Basmati has increased from Rs 50-58 per kg to Rs. 70-78 per kg.