India raises 2020/21 common rice purchase price by 2.9%

A worker spreads rice for drying at a rice mill on the outskirts of Kolkata

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has raised the price at which it will buy new-season common rice varieties from local farmers by 2.9%, the agriculture minister said on Monday.

For common grades of rice, the government has fixed the support price at 1,868 Indian rupees ($24.75) per 100 kg, Narendra Singh Tomar told a news conference.

Buoyed by the increase in the guaranteed price, Indian farmers are expected to plant more rice in June and July, when monsoon rains spur planting of the staple in the world's biggest exporter of the grain.

Above-average monsoon rains should also boost crop yields.

The higher output will force the government to buy more from local farmers, bumping up local supplies and adding extra stocks to brimful granaries.

The government also raised the purchase price of long staple cotton to 5,825 rupees per 100 kg against 5,550 rupees from the previous year and that of soybean to 3,880 rupees, up from 3,710 in 2019/20.

Higher cotton output will help India, the world's biggest producer of the fibre and boost its exports to Asian buyers such as China, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

At the same time, the increase in soybean production could cut expensive vegetable oil imports by India, the world's No. 1 buyer of edible oils.


(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj; editing by Barbara Lewis)