The Centre has extended the 20 per cent export duty on parboiled rice until March 31, 2024, as it was to expire on October 15. The step has been taken to check domestic prices of rice amid state elections in some states scheduled next month, traders said. The government has yet to release the output estimates of kharif crops, which are normally announced in the third or fourth week of September.

The export duty was imposed with immediate effect in August this year to curb a surge in shipments, and a month before the decision, a ban was imposed on the export of (non-basmati) white rice. Already, a ban on the export of broken rice has been continuing.

According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Finance on Friday night, the duty will be in force till March 31.

Though overall paddy acreage in the current Kharif season is marginally higher than year-ago, the crop yield in many parts is expected to be lower due to a severe rainfall deficiency in August and floods in Haryana and Punjab, experts said. A Haryana government official said that the non-Basmati acreage in the state has reduced while the Basmati area has increased, showing an overall rise in paddy coverage.

It is feared that rice production may be lower than the targetted 111 million tonnes this kharif, whereas in the 2022 kharif season, it was 110 million tonnes.