Five-six countries have evinced interest in importing Indian wheat since the ban on the export of the cereal on May 13, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said on Thursday. Talking to reporters, Pandey said the government has formed a committee to take decisions on such requests even as he did not specify the countries.
Pandey said wheat prices in the domestic market are showing a declining trend after the export restrictions.
The demand for Indian wheat has increased overseas. For the current financial year, the government estimates put wheat exports at about 45 lakh metric tonnes, of which, 14.63 lakh metric tonnes were exported in April 2022 alone, substantially higher than 2.43 lakh metric tonnes exported in the same month last year. Besides, 95,167 metric tonnes of atta were exported in April, almost four times the figure (25,566 MT) for corresponding month last year.
However, wheat production in India is expected to be lower than the earlier estimates. In February this year, the government had estimated 111 million tonnes of wheat production. However, a extreme hot conditions in late March affected the yield and the revised estimates stand at 105-106 million tonnes. Asked about the wheat procurement during the current rabi marketing season, Pandey said about 187 lakh metric tonnes of wheat has been procured till date.
On reports of Turkey rejecting an Indian wheat consignment on quality concerns, Pandey said the government has sought details from the Turkish authorities on the matter.
In a statement, the Food Ministry said, “The Centre’s timely intervention in regulating the mounting export of wheat and sugar through export regulations has insulated the prices of these commodities from increase in contrast to the prices prevailing in the global market.”
Listing measures taken by the government to arrest the rising prices of edible oils, the ministry said that the steps taken by the government has resulted in keeping the prices of edible oils under “tight check”.
“In case of edible oils, the prices of soyabean oil (FOB Brazil) has increased by 35.5% whereas in the domestic market, the increase has been only 13% over the year. The international prices of sunflower oil (FOB Rotterdam) has increased by 35.9% while in the domestic market, it has increased by 12.1% over the year,” the statement said.
The statement said, “The increase in domestic production of groundnut, mustard and soyabean crops during the crop year 2020-21 have contributed to lowering the prices of soyabean, sunflower and palm oil.”
“The recent decision of the government to reduce the excise duty on petrol and diesel has further helped in cooling down the prices of all commodities,” the statement said.