New Delhi: Concerned over surplus wheat stocks, the government's advisory body CACP has suggested the Centre "aggressively" push exports of 10 million tonnes of wheat from the FCI godowns during the 2013-14 fiscal.
For the 2012-13 fiscal, the government has allowed 4.5 million tonnes of wheat export from the central stocks. Of this, 1.35 million tonnes has been shipped so far.
"The country's farm exports can be raised further in the next fiscal by aggressively selling wheat in the global market.
"A 10 million tonne export target of wheat can be done within 2013-14 fiscal, if the government acts aggressively and quickly," Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP) Chairman Ashok Gulati said in the pre-budget proposal document submitted to the Finance Minister.
Export of 10 million tonnes of wheat at an average price of USD 300 per tonne can fetch the country USD 3 billion foreign exchange, he said.
It will also release storage space for the incoming crop and save on the carrying excessive wheat stocks, which are currently three times the buffer stock norms, he added.
Gulati said the government should take early decision on wheat exports because the global prices may not remain attractive for long, which may leave the Centre saddled with even larger stocks, increasing the food subsidy bill.
Global prices could depress once arrival of wheat crop from northern hemisphere starts later in the year, he added.
Presently, state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) has foodgrains stock of more than 68 million tonnes, against the storage capacity of 63 million tonnes. Of this wheat stock is about 37 million tonnes.
The central pool stocks have risen due to bumper production and procurement in the last two consecutive years. Last year, wheat output stood at a record 93.90 million tonnes.
In September 2011, the government lifted the ban on wheat exports after it was convinced that the central pool stocks were sufficient to meet the requirement of PDS and proposed Food Security bill.