New Delhi: India is likely to export 3.5 to 4 million tonnes of wheat to the neighbouring South East Asian and West Asian countries till March, compared to the 0.18 million tonne in the previous year, if the government extends an export subsidy, said the trade. The current stocks in the country with the government and the private sector are over 56 million tonnes, which the government will have to offload ahead of the arrival of the new crop in April.

“It is estimated that Indian exporters contracted 0.5 million tonne of wheat this season with customers in Middle-East, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South East Asia.

For Indian wheat to compete effectively in other larger export markets, an export incentive of 7% to 8% will be required on FOB values. If such support is extended soon, India can export an additional 2-3 million tonnes during the next 4 to 5 months, ” ITC Ltd spokesperson said, adding that the company supports millions of farmers through its wheat value chain contributing to building strong Indian brands and also to exports.

Wheat traders and exporters said that in the last few months India had good opportunity to export due to less crop in Ukraine and Russia, increased buying by China and firm corn prices in the global market. “There is good number of export enquiries coming and contracts are being signed and companies are trying to accumulate quality wheat stock,” said wheat trader Raju Khandelwal of Jagdish International Ltd. “Bangladesh is one of the largest buyers where by rail rakes the exports are happening and already over five lakh tonne has been contracted. Also, small containers are being sent to UAE, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, taking overall exports contracted to 1 million tonne.”

Prerana Desai, head of rural and corporate services research at Edelweiss, said the export will have to be aggressive from here on because of the glut like situation in the Indian market. “We have 56 million tonnes of wheat, which includes 38 million tonnes by the government and the rest by the market,” she said.

Desai said that in the last few years, wheat exports from the country have been between 0.2 and 0.7 million tonnes, with government focusing on domestic availability.

However, the industry said that international prices were falling with new crop arriving from other markets and the expected export parity with government assistance.

“Presently, the Indian wheat is priced at Rs 1,960 per quintal (100 kg) while the international prices is about Rs 1,750 per quintal. The government needs to reduce the price of the grain stock it holds, ” said Sanjay Puri, president at Roller Flour Mills Association.

As Australia is expected to harvest a record 29 million tonnes of wheat crop, markets in South East Asia and West Asia have started covering their January-March 2021 requirement from Australia, added the ITC spokesperson.

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