Indian food firm eyes GCC expansion

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(AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

(AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

An Indian exporter of food products has announced an aggressive expansion strategy across the GCC, driven by a bumper Basmati rice crop in 2012 and the relaxation of export curbs by the Indian government.

Radikal said its growth plan, which will eventually reach 65 countries, will be rolled out by the end of 2013.

The company said it was confident of increasing its exports to the GCC to 28 percent by the end of the year.

It said in a statement that while NMC Trading will handle the distribution of Radikal products in the UAE, the company had also formed partnerships in other GCC states, including Abbar Foods in Saudi Arabia, GTRC in Kuwait, Jasmis Corporation in Bahrain and Bludan Trading in Qatar.

Siddharth Chaudhary, Radikal's managing director,   confirmed that the company would soon be increasing its exports to the GCC in view of the demand for high-quality nutritive and healthy long-grain rice.

"We are committed to produce rice that can enhance overall experience of indulgence with enhanced nutritive value, thereby inspiring a healthy life. The GCC traditionally has been one of the leading importers of Indian Basmati rice and accounts for 20 percent of our total exports," said Chaudhary.

Following the Indian government's scrapping of the minimum export price in July last year due to a large amount of rice stocks, Indian Basmati rice traders are now poised to increase their worldwide rice exports by a further 12-15 percent in 2013, Chaudhary added.

Currently, India exports three million tonnes of Basmati rice every year to major markets such as the GCC, Iraq, Europe and the United States.

India produced a record 103 million tonnes of rice in the 2012 crop year that ended in June, a jump of about eight percent over the previous year, including five million tonnes of Basmati.

The aromatic rice variety is typically grown in the North Indian states of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand.

Vikas Gawari, vice president, Radikal Overseas, said that the company would now strengthen its presence in the Middle East and Africa, including Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

"We will aggressively market the brand in countries where the consumption of Indian Basmati rice has witnessed a significant increase over the past few years."

Currently, India is the world's largest rice exporter, displacing Thailand from its No 1 position in 2012.

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