India was never traditional supplier of wheat to world: Goyal

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Asserting that it was never a traditional player in the international wheat market, India on Wednesday said it will continue to allow wheat export for countries that are vulnerable, friendly, and have letters of credit.

In his address at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Indian Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution Minister, Piyush Goyal said: “India was never a traditional player in the international wheat market and export of wheat only began about two years ago. Last year, seven lakh metric tonnes (LMT) wheat was exported and the majority was done within the last two months when the war between Russia-Ukraine broke out.”

“India will continue to allow wheat export for countries which are in serious need, are friendly and have the letter of credit,” he said.

“India wheat exports are less than one per cent of world trade and our export regulation should not affect global markets. We continue to allow exports to vulnerable countries and neighbors.”

Goyal highlighted that while a 7-8 per cent rise in India’s wheat production was expected this year, severe heat waves led to early harvest and loss of production.

“Given this situation, what we are producing is about enough for domestic consumption,” he added.

India’s wheat production this year has been estimated at 106.41 million tonnes, down three per cent compared to previous year. The government had earlier last month announced that it can export wheat to the whole world and there was nothing wrong if the farmers earned better due to increased exports.

However, within weeks, after the government procurement showed a dip, it made a u-turn and said providing for its own people is priority and along with it, the government will also take care of the real needy countries, including the neighbours.

–IANS
niv/vd

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