Amidst the Russia-Ukraine war, India’s wheat exports have picked up after global prices surged, and total shipments from the country have already touched a record of 6.6 million tonne this fiscal so far, food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey has said. It is an “opportunity” for Indian exporters as the new wheat crop will be available early from March 15 when compared to other global wheat producers, he added.
Even though India has a surplus of wheat, it may not be able to ship it to Europe due to lack of regulatory approvals and the availability of Russian wheat stands in the way as the West has put agricultural trade out of sanctions, according to a report in Moneycontrol.
Russia and Ukraine together account for 30% of world wheat exports.
Their wheat crop will mature in August and September this year. As a result, global wheat prices have already gone up and are ruling in the range of Rs 24,000-25,000 per tonne, the food secretary added. “Indian wheat exports, as a result, have picked up. of February, we have already exported 6.6 million tonnes of wheat,” Pandey said.
India’s wheat production is estimated to touch a new record of 111.32 million tonnes in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) as against 109.59 million tonnes in the previous year, according to the agriculture ministry’s second advance estimate.
Other global players will enter the market later after the end of their summer season. “We will have adequate stock of wheat and the new crop will also be available to private players for normal export,” he added.
A recent rally in international prices has made wheat shipments more lucrative for traders.
Benchmark wheat prices in Chicago have surged by more than 40% this week on fears of supply disruptions due to sanctions on Russia and the war in Ukraine.
Traders last week said India’s wheat exports were expected to accelerate with a flurry of enquiries from buyers seeking alternatives to Black Sea shipments.
India will also send 50,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan, Pandey said, in a bid to help the country facing poverty and hunger since the takeover by the Taliban last year.
New Delhi has already sent 4,000 tonnes of the grain to Afghanistan via an infrequently used land route through Pakistan.
Indian officials said wheat exports to neighbouring Bangladesh will increase in the future, according to a report in Moneycontrol. Bangladesh bought 60% of India’s wheat, followed by Sri Lanka (8.1%) and United Arab Emirates (7.3%). Due to changing trading patterns, India has been exporting wheat to Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea in recent years.
China (133.6 million tonnes) and India (103.6 million tonnes) were top wheat producers of the world in 2019, followed by Russia (74.5 million tonnes), while Ukraine stood seventh (28.4 million tonnes), according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.