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India Holds Basmati Rice Promotion Event in Iran as Ban May be Lifted

A 20-member Indian trade delegation led by Chairman of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) visited Iran from January 28 to 30, 2017 to promote export of Basmati rice that was banned since five months.

In view negative publicity in Iran media about Indian rice, the promotional event was held at Hotel Espinas Palace in Iranian capital Teheran. About 250 people participated in it which witnessed preparation of Iranian dishes prepared by Iranian Chefs with use of Indian rice that was served for lunch.

Participants included about 30 media personnel, importers, inspection agencies and government officials from Food and Drug Organisation (FDO), said a statement. A film of about 3.5 minutes duration was also screened depicting different aspects of Basmati cultivation, processing, issue of health certificate and assurance of Indian rice being GMO free at the event.

The delegation also met several heads of government departments including Food and Drug Organisation, Governmental Trading Corporation and Trade Promotion Organisation, besides meeting members of Iran Chamber of Commerce and Rice Importers Association to dispel the negative publicity which appeared in some parts of Iran media causing doubts about the health and safety of rice from India.

The delegation said the Government of Iran may soon issue the notification about resumption of issuance of permits for import of Indian rice. To supplement domestic production of about 2 million MT, Iran imports about 1 million MT of rice every year out of which about 7 lakh MT is exported from India.

Reports said Iran has already lifted its ban on imports of basmati rice from India owing to increase in rice prices. A formal notification is awaited.

In 2015-16, basmati rice imports from India halved to $571 million from $1.1 billion in 2014-15. In 2016-17, basmati rice exports amounted to $356 million before ban was imposed after adverse reports in media casting doubts about the safety of Indian basmati rice.

Basmati rice is exported by India, Pakistan and Uruguay.

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