The government immediately banned wheat exports as part of a growing domestic price control system, according to an official statement.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification dated May 13 that export invoices, however, would be allowed for export invoices that have been issued Credit of Credit (LOC) on or before this notification.
“Wheat export policy has been banned immediately,” the DGFT said
It further clarified that wheat exports would be allowed by the Government of India to meet their food security needs in other countries and on the basis of permission granted by them at the request of the Government.
In a separate notification, DGFT announced easing of export conditions for onion seeds.
“The onion seed export policy has been placed under a restricted section with immediate effect,” it said. Earlier, export of onion seeds was banned.
Official data released this week showed that retail inflation reached an eight-year high in April due to higher fuel and food prices.
The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, the main exporters of food grains, has led to a ban on exports amid disruptions in global wheat supplies.
Due to strong global demand, India’s wheat exports increased by 7 million tonnes in 2021-22, valued at USD 2.05 billion. According to the DGFT data, out of the total wheat exports, about 50 per cent of the consignments were exported to Bangladesh in the last financial year.
The country exported about 963,000 tonnes of wheat this year as against 130,000 tonnes in the same period last year.
India wanted to export 10 million tonnes of wheat in 2022-23. The Commerce Ministry recently said that India would send trade representatives to nine countries – Morocco, Tunisia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Algeria and Lebanon – to explore the possibility of increasing wheat shipments.
India’s wheat purchases also fell 44 per cent to 16.2 million tonnes in the current Rabi marketing season as of May 1, due to heavy lifting by private traders and low arrivals in Punjab and Haryana.
During the same period last year, the government procured 26.7 million tonnes of wheat. The Robi marketing season runs from April to March.
As demand for grain for export has increased, private players have bought wheat at a higher price than the minimum support price.
The center has set a target of procuring a record 44.4 million tonnes of wheat in the 2022-23 marketing year, up from an all-time high of 43.34 million tonnes in the previous marketing year.
In the midst of low purchases for the central pool, the center has stopped selling wheat to bulk consumers under the Open Market Sales Scheme (OMSS) and told them not to wait for the project to resume to buy grain.
According to the second advance estimate of the Ministry of Agriculture, wheat production in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) has reached a record 111.32 million tons..
(With PTI input)