China has allowed imports of non-basmati rice from India and the first consignment of 100 tonnes will be shipped today (Friday) from Nagpur, the commerce ministry said.
The consignment will be received by China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) which is a state-owned firm of the neighbouring country, the ministry said in a statement.
"After concerted efforts of the government, 19 rice mills and processing units have been registered for export of non-basmati rice from India to China," it added.
In June, both the sides inked a protocol on phyto-sanitary (related with plants) requirements for exporting rice from India to China.
A major rice market in the world, China so far allowed import of only basmati rice from India. Under the protocol, the shipments will have to comply with the Chinese plant quarantine laws and regulations.
India will also have to ensure that processing and storage houses of the rice to be exported to China is free from pests - Trogoderma granarium and Prostephanus truncatus - and live insects.
The exported rice will have to be free of soil, seeds of weeds, paddy hull, loose bran and any of plant debris of rice.
Non-basmati rice exports from the country during April-February 2018 stood at USD 3.26 billion as against USD 2.53 billion in 2016-17.
Export of non-basmati rice assumes significance as India has time and again asked for greater market access for its agri-commodities in the Chinese market.
India wants to increase exports to China with a view to bridging the ballooning trade deficit, which has increased to USD USD 63.12 billion in 2017-18 from USD 51.08 billion in the previous fiscal.