Indian exporters have so far contracted to export about 35 lakh tonnes (lt) of wheat for shipments by July, which are nearly half of entire exports of last year, Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said on Friday. He, however, said it was trade estimates.
Most of the wheat from the new crop is likely to be sourced from Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan during this period, he said. A record 75 lt of wheat is estimated to have been exported during 2021-22 against 21.55 lt in the previous year, according to official data.
Asked whether the government would meet its wheat procurement target of 440 lt this year, he said as the season had just started, he would not guess at this juncture. However, he said the maximum quantity of wheat would be shipped out from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh due to the proximity of these States to ports and easier logistics. The situation may continue to remain favorable at least until July, he said.
Buying from other States
Private traders have been procuring wheat for export from these States since it started arriving in March. If international prices rise further, traders may buy the grain from other states such as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, he said.
“It is now a fact that the target of procurement will not be met at least in MP, Gujarat and Rajasthan as the government has admitted that maximum volume for export has been sourced from these states,” said a trader.
Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal recently said the country’s wheat exports could cross 100 lt during current fiscal.
A trade delegation from Egypt will be in India during April 10-15 to get first-hand knowledge of the country’s phytosanitary regime, wheat production systems, grading, monitoring and control. Among other programs, the team will also visit Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
Egypt’s public procurement agency General Authority of Supplies and Commodities (GASC) has expressed interest in importing essential commodities such as wheat and sugar from India.
The current Russia-Ukraine conflict has disrupted supplies to many countries including Egypt, a major importer of the cereal, with 120 lt per annum.
India has emerged as the best option in view of its competitive prices. Indian wheat prices are quoted at around $ 350 a tonne free-on-board (fob). In comparison, the US and Europe are quoting above $ 410 a tonne and Argentina $ 396 a tonne fob
Its efforts come on the heels of a record 111.32 mt wheat production this year and the Food Corporation of India holding about 20 mt of wheat as stocks against the mandatory norm of 7.6 mt of wheat, including 3 mt of strategic reserves.
April 08, 2022