Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Indian wheat must not be re-exported to 3rd country, says Piyush Goyal

India has put a precondition that wheat exported at a government-to-government level should be used for domestic consumption only and not exported to third countries, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Friday.
“We are insisting that any country that wants wheat from us should ask only for its local population and commit that it will not allow a re-export. Our concern was that traders, speculators and hoarders should not get a control of this valuable wheat and then charge exorbitant prices from poor and vulnerable nations, causing distress to the people of the world. We want to support the less developed, friendly and neighbouring countries to the extent that we can,” Goyal said.
Business Standard on May 26 reported that India had received special requests from the UAE, South Korea, Oman and Yemen for wheat after the government banned exports on May 13.
Goyal said an inter-ministerial committee comprising representatives from agriculture, food, foreign affairs examine and approve requests from friendly nations who have asked for wheat from India, depending on their population size.
While imposing the export ban, the commerce ministry said export will be allowed on the basis of permission granted by the Government of India to other countries to meet their food security needs and based on the request of their governments.
The government also allowed a wheat consignment of 61,500 Mt for Egypt after the export ban. It was already under loading at the Kandla port.
Goyal said India had asked the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to allow a relaxation of rules so that whenever some country needs support on a government-to-government basis, India can supply wheat to the country from the government procured stock. “It will be a matter of discussion when I go to the WTO’s upcoming 12th Ministerial,” he added.
If farmers lost out due to the wheat exports ban by the government, Goyal said farmers had already sold their produce.
“This is evident from the fact that after the wheat ban was introduced, we only got 600,000 tonnes through government procurement. Having sold their produce, if traders would have indiscriminately exported it at high profit, beyond a point it would have been harmful for our own food security and our own requirement and prices could have sky-rocketed,” he added.
Goyal said as of now he doesn’t see chances of putting restrictions on export of any other agriculture products. “Those are decisions which we don’t disclose before we take the decisions.
In the course of the monitoring, estimates of agri production are taken from time to time wherever required. As of now, we don’t see the need to do it on any other product,” he added.



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