India hopes to be among top 10 wheat exporters

Written by Sandip Das | HumaSiddiqui | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 13 2012, 02:07am hrs
India was named as the world's largest rice exporter last year, now it's all set to emerge as a key wheat-exporting nation too. The country's wheat export is all set to cross the 5.5-million tonne mark during 201213.

After Iran, Yemen and Malaysia have shown interest in importing wheat from India. After the government put wheat exports under OGL in October 2011, India has exported more than 2.4 million tonne of wheat during the April September period.

India has exported wheat to countries such as South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand in the current fiscal.

The US (28.6 mt), Canada (17.4 mt) and Australia (25 mt) are the worlds top wheat exporters. During 2011- 12, India could export only 22,000 tonne of wheat. In value terms, it has exported wheat worth of R3,619 crore in the first half of the current fiscal while the shipment was only to the tune of R38 crore in the previous fiscal.

Although our wheat exports are small compared to other countries such as the US, Canada and Australia, we will still emerge among the top 10 wheat-exporting countries this fiscal, Asit Tripathy, chairman, agricultural & processed food products export development authority (APEDA), told FE.

The ministry of agriculture estimates Indias wheat production during 2011-12 at 93.9 million tonne while the domestic consumption is pegged at around 85 mt.

Food minister KV Thomas recently said India is likely to continue export of wheat and rice despite worries over output because of a deficient monsoon. We are working on a mechanism to have a stable export-import policy on select farm commodities such as rice, wheat and sugar," Thomas said, adding the policy will benefit both farmers and the industry.

Last fiscal, India emerged as the largest rice exporter in the globe with a shipment of more than 6.5 mt.

Thailand and Vietnam have been the biggest rice producers in the world since 2008, when India imposed ban on non-basmati export for curbing domestic price.

At present, talks are on to export more than 2 million tonne of wheat to Iran. The talks are stalled over the presence of Karnal Bunt rust in the wheat samples.

India is eyeing a long-term tie-up with Iran.