Page last updated at 00:20 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 01:20 UK

India introduces rice export ban

A woman selling rice in Calcutta
Traders say rice prices rose by 10% last year

The Indian government has banned the export of non-basmati rice to try and control soaring domestic food costs.

The decision, one of a series of measures to curb inflation, was taken during an emergency cabinet meeting.

The price for exports of aromatic basmati rice has also been raised to $1,200 per tonne to discourage exports.

The move could have an impact on rice prices globally as the country is the third largest exporter of the grain - a staple food in many countries.

The move is the latest in a series of increases in the export price of non-basmati rice.

The price of such rice was increased from $650 to $1,000 per tonne in the month of March alone.

Global problem

The government imposed a total ban on non-basmati rice exports last October but lifted it following protests from exporters.

India is the second-largest rice producer in the world. It usually exports more than four million tonnes of rice a year.

The government also announced that it would be scrapping import duty on all crude edible oils as part of its inflation-curbing measures.

India ended its reliance on food imports in the 1970s, largely to the government's so-called Green Revolution.

But two years ago, it imported wheat for the first time in six years following a significant drop in its stockpiles.

The government wants to avoid a similar situation for its rice stocks.

In mid-March, in an attempt to bolster its stocks, India abolished import duties on rice.

The problem is an international one, as global rice stocks have reached a 25-year low.

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