Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Friday exuded confidence that India’s wheat exports in the current fiscal will breach the initial target of 10 million tonne and may even touch 15 million tonnes.
The country’s wheat exports have witnessed a quantum jump in recent years — from just 2,17,000 tonnes in FY20 to two million tonnes in FY21 and more than seven million tonnes in FY22 — on the back of bumper harvests.
The export prospect for FY23 has been brightened by the offer of a large buyer like Egypt to purchase wheat from India, which is in a position to fill in the shortage caused by the war between Russia and Ukraine — both large suppliers of the grain.
India is aiming to supply three million tonne of wheat to Egypt alone in FY23, after Cairo has added New Delhi to the list of wheat import destinations, M Angamuthu, chairman of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority, said.
The country is expecting a record wheat production of 111.32 million tonnes in the crop year through June, making it the sixth year in a row that New Delhi has produced a surplus. Egypt had imported wheat worth as much as $1.8 billion from Russia and $600 million from Ukraine in 2020.
Goyal also said the issues relating to exports of farm products to Indonesia have been resolved, which will offer relief to domestic exporters. The minister was addressing media in Mumbai after a meeting with exporters belonging to various sectors so that the merchandise export target for FY23 can be set.
Indonesia had last month suspended supplies of select Indian farm products, stating that New Delhi had failed to comply with the registration renewal requirement for its 26 food certification laboratories for peanuts and grapes. However, despatches of even other farm commodities were also stuck in this process, prompting India to get into hectic deliberations with Indonesia to lift the curbs.
Earlier in the day, speaking at an event hosted by the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association, Goyal exhorted the domestic pharmaceutical industry to further bolster its generic medicine production. He asked them to firm up long-term plans to tide over any disruption in the global supply chains and ensure better linkage between input and output of products to achieve self-reliance.
“Global supply chains are becoming more and more difficult to predict. The challenges are getting unimaginably serious,” he said. “It’s extremely important that we focus not only on our strengths in the generic sector but also ensure our backward and forward linkages,” he said.
The minister also said the government’s bid to forge free-trade agreements with different countries will open up fresh opportunities for the Indian pharma sector and lead to easier approvals for its products across the globe. Recently, India signed a free trade agreement with the UAE and another trade deal with Australia; both the deals are expected to benefit the India pharmaceutical industry.