No plans to import wheat into India: Govt sources

The government has no plans to import wheat as it has sufficient stocks to meet the country’s requirements, official sources said.

The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has enough stock for public distribution, they added. “There are no plans to import wheat into India. The country has sufficient stocks to meet our domestic requirements,” a source said.

The comments come against the backdrop of some reports which said India may import the foodgrain.

Country’s wheat production

India’s wheat production is projected to have declined nearly 3 per cent to 106.84 million tonnes while the overall foodgrain production is estimated to have touched record 315.72 million tonnes in the 2021-22 crop year.

Wheat production is estimated to have declined due to a heatwave that resulted in shrivelled grains in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana.

According to the fourth advance estimate for the 2021-22 crop year released by the agriculture ministry recently, record output is estimated for rice, maize, gram, pulses, rapeseed and mustard, oilseeds and sugarcane.

A wheat flour millers’ body earlier this month demanded that the government scrap the 40 per cent import duty on wheat to boost domestic supplies and control prices.

“Members of the Roller Flour Millers’ Federation of India met Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey on Wednesday to discuss the issue of price rise and shortage of wheat in the market,” it said in a statement.

The federation’s President Anjani Agarwal has said the price of wheat has increased by ₹300-350 per quintal in the last 15 days.

Concerns over unavailability and price rise

The industry body has raised concerns regarding unavailability of wheat and the drastic rise in price in the last few days even though the harvest season ended just a month back and the new crop would arrive only after eight months from now.

It has demanded the release of wheat under the Open Market Sales Scheme (OMSS) through a tender process for user industries.

In May, India banned wheat exports in a bid to check high prices amid concerns of wheat output being hit by a scorching heat wave. In July, the government had stated that wheat stocks in FCI godowns are expected to be 134 lakh tonnes at the start of next fiscal, 80 per cent more than the buffer norm. In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal said the central pool stock of wheat as on July 1, 2022, is well above the foodgrains stocking norms.

India exported a record 7 million tonnes of wheat during the 2021-22 fiscal. The wholesale price-based inflation eased to a five-month low of 13.93 per cent in July on easing prices of food articles and manufactured products. Inflation in food articles in July eased to 10.77 per cent from 14.39 per cent in June.

Published on

August 21, 2022

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