Govt to go slow on 2 million tonnes of wheat export
New Delhi: The government on Thursday said it will go slow on export of 2 million tonnes of wheat from its godowns as there has been good response to recent schemes announced to offload additional grains to ease storage crisis.
Currently, the government is grappling with the problem of plenty as its godowns are full, with over 82 million tonnes of foodgrains against storing capacity of 64 million tonnes.
"We are not in a hurry to export wheat. We will rather go slow (on exports) because there has been good response to our schemes," Food Minister K V Thomas said.
He, however, made it clear that the government "will not abandon" the plan to export wheat from its godowns.
Fearing damage of foodgrains during monsoon due to lack of storage facilities, the government had recently permitted 2 million tonnes of wheat export from the central pool.
Besides, it allocated additional 5 million tonnes of foodgrains through ration shops and 3 million tonnes of wheat in the open market.
Thomas said, "The response for wheat under the open market sale scheme (OMSS) has been good. Offtake of additional foodgrains from state government for PDS is also improving.
"If offtake improves, we will think about allocating additional quantities. So, we are not in a hurry to export. We will export only if we get good price," he noted.
Early this month, the government permitted export of two million tonnes of wheat from the central pool as a measure to clear surplus stock. It allowed wheat exports via state trade agencies STC, MMTC and PEC with floor price USD 228 a tonne.
The country has shipped 1.8 million tonnes of wheat through private trade since the government lifted the export ban on the commodity in September 2011.
India, the world's second biggest wheat producer, is facing storage crisis due to bumper procurement and production in the last few years. The country had harvested a record 90.75 million tonnes in the 2011-12 crop year (July-June).