With no rain in sight, govt defers plan to export wheat


The Times of India
June 27, 2009

NEW DELHI: With delayed monsoon giving rise to apprehension of an increase in food prices, the government has deferred a decision to allow wheat exports but will allow overseas sale of wheat products such as flour, refined flour (maida) and semolina (sooji).

Simultaneously, a group of ministers is likely to be set up to decide on the issue of allowing exports of non-Basmati rice, government sources said.

The commerce ministry has approved the export of 6.5 lakh tonnes of wheat products and the Director General of Foreign Trade is expected to notify the decision shortly. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority will monitor these exports to ensure that the ceiling of shipments is not exceeded.

A ministerial panel set up during the previous government had allowed export of wheat and wheat products up to 20 lakh tonnes after May 15. The exports appear to have been deferred as the government seeks to assess the foodgrain requirement for the proposed Food Security Act.

Meanwhile, differences have cropped up between the commerce and agriculture ministries on lifting the ban on export of non-Basmati rice. The farm ministry is opposed to any bold measure on opening exports of rice, but the commerce ministry is pushing for lifting the 15-month-old restriction on shipments of expensive grain.


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