Govt may review agri-commodities export policy in Aug

Govt may review agri-commodities export policy in Aug New Delhi: The government may review its export policy on farm commodities such as wheat, rice and sugar in August, when the monsoon situation gets clearer, Food Minister K V Thomas said Wednesday.

"We should wait till August," Thomas told reporters on the sidelines of a conference when asked whether the government will review farm export policy in the backdrop of delayed monsoon rains.

Southwest monsoon, crucial for Indian agriculture, is delayed and rains so far are deficient by 21 percent across the country, affecting sowing of major kharif (summer) crops like paddy, some pulses and oilseeds.

Thomas said the government is monitoring the monsoon situation and will take a decision on the export policy of agricultural commodities after looking into all aspects.

At present, the government has allowed export of rice, wheat, sugar, cotton, onion among other commodities through private trade in the wake of bumper production.

Recently, the government had permitted export of two million tonnes of wheat from its godowns to clear surplus stocks and save the grain from getting damaged during monsoon.

Recently, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had said there is no need to restrict export quantity of foodgrains as the country has ample stock of rice and wheat.

It was only in September 2011, the government had removed export ban on non-basmati rice and wheat in the wake of bumper production. Since then, the country has shipped over 5 million tonnes of non-basmati rice and 1.5 million tonnes of wheat.

Sugar exports were also allowed as the country's production is expected to outstrip demand this year. As much as 1.6 million tonnes of the sweetener has been shipped in the ongoing marketing year (October-September).

The country had harvested a record 257.44 million tonnes foodgrains in the 2011-12 crop year (July-June) on account of good rains.

PTI