For the first time, China has approved the import of basmati rice from India. Though, the country has given in-principal approval, Indian embassy officials agreed agreed that it would be a tough proposition for Indian tradeers to gain entry into the Chinese market, dominated by Thai varieties in general and Pakistani aromatic rice in particular, according to a PTI report.
S Jaishankar, Indian Ambassador to China said: 'It is a very positive move by China. We are in touch with basmati producers back home to see how to take this forward'. The Indian embassy is contemplating on organising a publicity campaign to push basmati rice into the Chinese markets, noted the report.
Stating that the diplomats in Beijing regarded the Chinese decision to allow basmati rice import from India as diplomatic success, the report went on to add that given the fact that Beijing was found dithering ever since New Delhi formally sought an opening for basmati rice in 2006.
The approval came after passing through rigorous testing procedures of the Chinese official bodies, the report said.
Before this, Pakistani basmati rice is widely used by star hotels and Indian restaurants which have come up in big numbers all over China -- the world's largest rice market.
Islamabad had no such problem in securing permission earlier to market its aromatic rice taking advantage of the strategic alliance the country has with China.
K Nagraj Naidu, Trade Consular of the Indian embassy was quoted as saying by the report that it was a challenge to foray the market in the neighbourhood market as Chinese eat sticky (glutinous) rice which is easy to take it with chop sticks.
'Basmati is not only a new variety but also it has to take along with spoon," Naidu said. It is not going to be easy to penetrate the market and efforts would have to be made to introduce India's aromatic rice in a big way, Naidu added.