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Rice exporters seek nod for SRK ad

Last updated on: July 03, 2007 17:26 IST
Upset over objections raised by the government on their Rs 21-crore (Rs 210 million) proposal to launch a global Basmati promotion campaign featuring Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, rice exporters will present their case before authorities in the commerce ministry.

"I will soon seek an appointment with higher officials in the commerce ministry and explain how this campaign, to be launched in Europe and Middle East, is important for the country's rice growers and the industry," All India Rice Exporters' Association chairman Vijay Setia told PTI.

The Airea along with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority had finalised the campaign to be executed by Grey Worldwide and Crayon Advertising. It was to be financed by the Basmati Development Fund, which is created by contributions from exporters.

One of the objections raised by the government on a complaint from a Punjab-based association relates to the fact that the entire money lying with BDF would be spent on this high profile campaign.

"What is the use of keeping this money in a fixed deposit when we can get a definite value addition from advertising," Setia asked. He said since the exporters are enjoying good times in the world market, they can again bring money to BDF many times over "in a matter of days".

The Rs 21-crore (Rs 210 million) campaign was divided into two segments of Rs 10.50 crore (Rs 105 million) each for the Middle East and Europe, which are the main markets for the Indian rice.

Setia said the BDF is being managed by representatives of the exporting community and Apeda in a "transparent manner" and Airea would not retract from its planned campaign.

However, Delhi-based Anil Mittal of KRBL has since dissociated from Airea alleging that the association was not protecting farmers interest.

"How will farmers benefit from this expensive campaign," he asked.

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