South Asia radius

Amira joins select few firms with permission to ship rice to China

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags: Sri lanka, Rice

Dubai-based Amira Nature Foods, which manufactures packaged Indian specialty rice, is now one of only a select few Indian companies allowed to export rice to China after they were granted approval for basmati shipments. 

Both the world’s biggest producer of rice and its largest importer, China has received nearly US$2bn of rice shipments over the last twelve months. Historically, the country has not permitted imports of Indian basmati. 

International expansion has been a strong pillar of our growth, and we are very excited to have this tremendous opportunity to further increase our international distribution footprint with Amira's entrance into the China market​,” said Karan A Chanana, its chairman. 

We are truly honoured to be granted approval into China with our premium Amira-branded basmati rice as we continue to execute our strategic global growth initiatives​.” 

Founded in 1915, New York-listed Amira has evolved into a leading global speciality rice provider, with distribution across five continents. It sells its products through a broad distribution network in both developed and emerging markets.

The company primarily sells basmati,  a premium long-grain rice grown only in specific parts of the subcontinent, under its own brand as well as supplying to third-parties.

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Nestlé helps SL coconut growers with plantlets and model farms

Nestlé will donate 10,000 coconut plantlets to 2,000 farmers and develop two model coconut farms to demonstrate best growing practices.

Officials hand over a plantlet to a local farmer

The move is to celebrate the Swiss multination’s 110 years in the country, and will take place in collaboration with Sri Lanka’s coconut cultivation board.

This year marks the first time Nestlé is directly engaging with its coconut famers​,” said Shivani Hegde, managing director for Nestlé Lanka. 

Nestlé will distribute the plantlets to farmers within traditional coconut growing areas, as well as to parts of the country with good potential for growing the trees.

It will also establish new model farms in Nikaweratiya and Kebithigollewa, each with 100 plantlets, with the aim of giving farmers an idea of coconut farm design to benchmark best practices.

The programme will also include intensive technical assistance by the coconut board, including soil tests, provision of manure and other pre- and post-planting assistance.

Coconut is a staple in Sri Lankan cuisine and a significant contributor to the country’s export economy. One of the biggest exporters of coconut milk powder in the world, its Maggi coconut milk powder is shipped to over 50 countries to supply Nestlé and other businesses. 

The company purchases coconuts indirectly from 5,000 rural farming families through its suppliers, offering them a sustainable source of income.

Its contribution to the local coconut industry by procuring fresh coconuts for its products came to LKR2.6bn (US$17.6m).

Nascens signs deal to supply wholesale tea to German retailer in India

The maker of Planta specialty teas will tap into German wholesale giant Metro’s cash-and-carry network in India.


Nascens Enterprise has entered the partnership to “deepen our reach to potential business customers as Metro allows us to market to small-time retailers with their vast customer base​,” said Neeraj Thakur, its vice-president.

The move, the company’s first major partnership with an international retail brand in the local market, is part of Nascens’s urban markets expansion strategy. It hopes to deepen the partnership in the future by widening the range of products available, which also includes personal care goods.

A start-up targeting middle-class Indians, Nascens operates in the specialty tea and wellness segment, which has been witnessing growth at an annualised rate of more than 20% over the past three years—two-and-a-half times India’s nominal GDP growth, compared to the overall FMCG market, which has been growing roughly in tandem with the wider economy.

We work hard to ensure that a new generation of tea snobs will realise there’s plenty of variety when it comes to world’s favourite tipple – and start drinking our teas more regularly​,” Pankaj Sharma, Nascens’s director. 

Market update: Indian ginger prices plummet

Indian dry ginger prices have plummeted to just 40% of their value last November due to an abundant supply of raw materials.  


According to Mintec, the commodities analyst, this year’s production has been influenced by increased plantings as farmers took advantage of the higher market prices seen over the past two years. 

The January-February harvest was estimated at 800,000, with increased supplies also leading to higher ginger exports. These rose by 40% between April and June, compared to the corresponding period last year. 

For the upcoming 2016/17 harvest, which is due to commence in the next few weeks, better output has been provisionally forecast for Karnataka, while production in Kerala is expected to decline on the back of lower rainfall. 

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