A government delegation will visit sanctions-hit Iran on Saturday to clinch a wheat export deal, an official said on Thursday.
India lifted the ban on wheat exports in September 2011 because of the record production in two consecutive years. Iran, on the other hand, has not been importing Indian wheat since 1996 due to quality issues.
“A 10-member team from India will visit Iran on October 6. The team will be in Tehran for two days to negotiate wheat exports,” the official added.
The delegation, headed by a senior commerce ministry official, will have members from various ministries such as food and agriculture besides officials from the state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI), he said.
Due to the drought in Russia, Iran has evinced interest in buying wheat from India on a long-term basis. But the west Asian country has not made clear whether it will relax quality norms for Indian wheat, sources said.
“The issues related to quality as well as the price will be discussed with Tehran officials,” a source said.
India could offer to sell to Iran minimum 1 million tonne (MT) of wheat a year through diplomatic channels but at a commercial price of not less than $300 a tonne, the source added.
A few months ago, the sanctions-hit Iran had sent a delegation to India to check the quality of Indian wheat. It had also taken samples for quality analysis.
Recently, food minister KV Thomas had said: “Iran had taken samples and has responded positively. It is interested to import wheat from India on a long-term basis.” The global prices are very high and 1-2 MT of wheat can go this year, he had said.