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There is no quality concern about Indian wheat: Food Secy

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 20:06

New Delhi: Amid reports that Iran has some quality problem in importing wheat from India, the government Wednesday said there is no concern over the quality of Indian wheat and the country is exporting the grain at a good price.

"There is no issue on quality of Indian wheat which is being reflected from the price we are getting in exports," Food Secretary Sudhir Kumar told reporters when asked about the progress made in discussion with Iran for wheat exports.

In the first tender, the government has got a price of USD 296 per tonne and in the last tender, the price has reached USD 328 per tonne, he said, adding that about 11-12 foreign firms are participating in the global tenders.

In July this year, the Centre had allowed exports of two million tonnes of wheat from its godowns to offload surplus stock and ease storage crunch. The tenders are being floated by the state-owned trading firms PEC, STC and MMTC on behalf of the government.

"Iran has not communicated to us about quality specification so far. Once they do it, we will take a call," the secretary informed.

Iran has not been importing Indian wheat since 1996 due to quality issues. Early this year, the sanction-hit West Asian country had shown interest to buy Indian wheat and had also sent its team to check quality of the grain. However, the negotiations have not yet fructified.

Asked whether entry of Australian wheat in the global market would hit country's export realisation, Kumar said: "There is shortage internationally. Anyway, our main objective is to manage foodgrains stock and not maximise price realisation".

Wheat production of India, the world's second largest producer, touched a record 93.9 million tonnes in the 2011-12 crop year (July-June) leading to a bumper procurement.

The Food Corporation of India's godowns are overflowing with foodgrains stocks, prompting the government to lift ban on exports in September, 2011.

From July this year, it even permitted exports of 2 million tonnes from FCI godowns and the allocated quantity is on the verge of getting exhausted. Now, the government is in the process of allowing an additional 2.5 million tonnes of exports.


First Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 20:06
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