India turns major wheat supplier in South, West Asia as global prices soar

Elvera Bartels

India has turned a key wheat supplier for countries in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Location, mainly West Asia, as prices in the international sector have surged in close proximity to eight-12 months substantial, in accordance to officers and business industry experts .

Climbing freight costs have also resulted in these countries turning to India to meet their wheat desire.

In accordance to Agricultural and Processed Foods Products and solutions Export Development Authority (APEDA), India exported 19.86 lakh tonnes (lt) of wheat through April-August fiscal compared with two.63 lt through the 12 months-in the past period.

USDA projection

The United States Section of Agriculture, in its “Grain: Earth Industry and Trade” report, projected India’s wheat exports at forty five lakh tonnes (lt), the optimum since it delivered fifty five.72 lt in 2013-14. The foodgrain’s shipments is believed to have topped very last year’s total shipments of 20.86 lt by now.

“Basically, Indian wheat is in desire as Russia and Australia are quoting greater prices for their develop. Raising freight prices have also contributed to the desire for Indian wheat,” mentioned Rajnikant Rai, Divisional Main Government, ITC Agri-Enterprise.

India wheat has not just obtained in quantity but in selling price as well. “In April, we began exporting wheat at $265 a tonne. At the moment, we are exporting at $315-eighteen a tonne,” Rai mentioned.

In contrast with this, Argentina is quoting at $296, France at $327, US tender crimson wintertime wheat at $322, Australia feed wheat at $433 and Black Sea wheat (Russia, Ukraine) at $312.seventy five a tonne.

The greater prices in the international sector are mirrored in domestic prices as well, which are ruling around this year’s minimal assistance selling price (MSP) level of ₹1,975.

Millers aggrieved

“Exports and latest prices have designed things difficult for the domestic milling business. We are acquiring to shell out ₹25 a kg for wheat from ₹20-21 a pair of months in the past,” mentioned Pramod Kumar, Vice-President, Roller Flour Mills Federation of India.

However officers concerned in exports say that millers can avail of wheat from the Foods Corporation of India (FCI), which is providing the shares it is keeping at prices relying on which 12 months the crop was harvested, Kumar mentioned tender norms had designed it difficult for any miller to bid.

On the other hand, exporters say they are procuring wheat from the open up sector for shipments abroad. “We are not intended to export wheat shares procured from FCI,” mentioned Rai.

Centre’s strategy

A Delhi-centered multinational firm’s export-import formal mentioned the Centre’s strategy could be to continue to keep growers satisfied in States these as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand, exactly where Assembly elections are due in six months time.

A trade analyst mentioned the Federal government could be encouraging exports of wheat on two counts. A person, it will aid reduce the enormous inventories that are remaining carried each and every 12 months. Two, it could also be to lessen FCI’s financial debt stress, which is just about ₹five lakh crore.

“Also, with trader partners placing strain on India at the Earth Trade Organisation to stop MSP, the Centre could be hoping to ship more when the problem is favourable,” he mentioned.

FCI shares

As on Oct 1, the FCI had forty six.85 million tonnes of wheat shares compared with forty three.73 million tonnes through the 12 months-in the past period. The Corporation is mandated to have 17.5 million tonnes of operational inventory and two million tonnes of strategic reserve through the period.

Mukesh Singh, Director, MuBala Agro Commodities Pvt Ltd, mentioned Bangladesh is positioning orders on a everyday foundation for Indian wheat. “For Bangladesh, it is cheaper to obtain Indian wheat in specific since freight fees are low,” he mentioned.

As per APEDA details, Bangladesh imported thirteen.thirteen lt of wheat through April-August compared with eleven.57 lt for the complete 2020-21 fiscal. The USDA has pegged Bangladesh’s wheat imports at 74 lakh tonnes this 12 months.

Shipments by highway

Most of the wheat consignments go by highway to the neighbouring region and trucks carrying wheat account for virtually a 3rd of the total motor vehicles crossing the Ghojadanga border. For case in point, on Oct 19, 92 trucks carried wheat to the neighbouring region out of the 312 that passed by means of the border.

“We are capable to get honest average good quality wheat at ₹19.fifty-21 a kg from Bihar, Bengal and Odisha. Wheat is available in Uttar Pradesh also, but freight is pricey,” Singh, who organization exports wheat and corn, mentioned.

ITC’s Rai mentioned Bangladesh and West Asian countries have been the two key customers of Indian wheat this 12 months. “Plus, Indian wheat has begun likely to Indonesia and the Philippines,” he mentioned.

A person key cause for Indian wheat to make inroads in the international sector is that in addition to remaining aggressive, its good quality has also improved, Rai mentioned.

Prospects very good till March

The ITC formal expects the latest rate in wheat exports to continue till the stop of the latest fiscal. “No other crops can strike the sector until then. The importers are countries that obtain consistently and India has now emerged as an selection,” Rai mentioned.

The USDA has projected international wheat use to boost sharply than manufacturing this 12 months. As a result, international wheat exports would be at document amounts resulting in shares dropping to a five-12 months low.

World output will be only marginally greater as manufacturing in the US, Canada, Kazakhstan and Iran have been affected. The drop in Canadian manufacturing will result in the North American nation shipping and delivery fifteen million tonnes of wheat lessen this 12 months. India is observed getting a chunk of the hole, with Australia and Europe remaining projected as the other gainers.

India has also been helped by document wheat manufacturing about the earlier two several years. In the course of 2019-20, India made 107.86 million tonnes and in 2020-21, the output increased to 109.52 million tonnes.

Top rated five Indian wheat customers


April-August 2021 imports

(in lakh tonnes)



Sri Lanka



1.fifty five





Supply: APEDA

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