Throwing their weight behind farmers protesting Genetic Engineered (GE) rice trials, rice exporters beseeched the Government to "pay heed" to "Chinese and US rice scandals" and warned of "disastrous consequences for the country, the industry, and farmers." The All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), considered an apex body of rice exporters, backed the demands of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) and a host of non-Governmental Organizations asking that the field trials in 10 locations across the country be stopped.
AIREA says that "Trace contamination of GE rice in US commercial consignments have been ruthlessly rejected by all 25 countries of the EU. The Middle East also has an equally unrelenting policy on GM (genetically modified) foods. Indian rice is GE-free today, therefore we urge all stakeholders to reopen the debate and make necessary mid-course corrections if we want to remain a serious agricultural exporter." India is the largest producer and exporter of Basmati with 1.15 million tons worth Rs 3030 crore (USD 656 million) in 2005-06 and this rice is primarily grown in Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttaranchal and exports are mainly to West Asia, EU, and the US. They fear that continued trials with lax monitoring or controls may significantly affect their export potential.