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India may relax wheat export ban for friendly countries

India is likely to consider the request of some friendly and vulnerable countries to supply wheat by selectively withdrawing the May 13 export ban order. This follows the request from several countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Korea, UAE Yemen and Oman according to reports..

Sources said India has to do tight rope balancing with the threat of shortage in the domestic market following reduction in wheat production.

 Wheat production has been affected by heat waves in northern India during March April. The forthcoming assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh Rajasthan Gujarat Himachal Pradesh would add to the worries of the ruling party

Nafed carries out the exports on behalf of the government

The government is actively considering requests from these countries to allow wheat exports. In case of government-to-government grain exports, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (Nafed) carries out the exports on behalf of the government. Government’s stand on the issue was broadly made clear by the Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal when he said that Indi will continue to allow wheat exports for countries which are in serious need, are friendly and have the letter of credit. Mr Goyal also handles the food portfolio

While a Nine per cent rise in wheat production was expected this year, severe heat waves led to early harvest and loss of production,” Goyal said. India was never a traditional player in the international wheat market and wheat exports only began about two years ago. India exported a record 7 million tons (MT) of wheat in FY22 the minister said at Davos  few days ago

The existing ban is not applicable for two kinds of shipments — exports committed by the Indian government under bilateral understanding with a few countries to meet their food security needs and shipments under transitional arrangements, where irrevocable letters of credit have been issued prior to the ban. The export ban has come at a time when traders had already received orders for 4.5 Million tons and were looking at more deals in the short term, in keeping with the government’s export target of 10 Million tons. 

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