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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

No need to panic due to India's rice export ban

QUOTE: Non-basmati white rice has been banned from exporting by India and Russia, but this won't be a major problem as Oman also imports non-basmati rice from Pakistan and Thailand: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources
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The Sultanate of Oman has a strategic rice reserve, and there is no reason to worry about any scarcity in the market. The situation will be monitored periodically, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources said on Tuesday.


The ministry confirmed that the rice reserves of the Sultanate of Oman are not affected by the export bans imposed by India and Russia.


"Non-basmati white rice has been banned from exporting by India and Russia, but this won't be a major problem as Oman also imports non-basmati rice from Pakistan and Thailand," an official spokesman said.


He said the Sultanate of Oman has sufficient reserves of white rice, which some residents consume, and there is close cooperation between the government and the private sector. He said rice is not cultivated in the Sultanate as it requires large amounts of water.


Speaking to the Observer, an exporter of various commodities, including rice, said there is no reason to panic as India is not the only source for rice imports, plus it is too early to feel the impact of the ban. "There is no ban on basmati rice that is used in preparing biryanis," he said.


A few restaurant owners also said that there had been no major changes in the prices of rice varieties.


It may be noted that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) banned exporting rice a week after India issued its major prohibition on non-basmati rice exports.


The ban covers "various types of rice and their products that do not originate from India," the ministry said in a statement. Those who wish to export or re-export non-Indian rice must submit an application to the ministry to obtain special permission, it continued. It was not specified why only Indian products aren't part of the temporary ban. India ordered a halt to its largest rice export category in a move that will roughly halve shipments by the world's largest exporter of the grain, triggering fears of further inflation on global food markets. The Indian government said it was imposing a ban on non-basmati white rice after retail rice prices climbed 3 per cent after heavy monsoon rains caused significant damage to crops.


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