Govt not in hurry to export wheat: KV Thomas
The government is not in a hurry to export two million tonnes of wheat from FCI godowns as it wants to achieve better realisation amid rising global prices, Food Minister K V Thomas on Wednesday said.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had yesterday approved the 2 million tonnes of wheat exports from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns to ease storage crunch. The base price for wheat export was fixed at USD 282 per tonne. A Committee, headed by Commerce Secretary, was also formed to decide on the timing and modalities of exports.
"We are not in a hurry to export. We are looking at the international situation because the prices in the global market are firming up and getting better and better," Thomas told reporters on the sidelines of a Ficci conference on commodity market.
Wheat prices on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) have increased by about 20 per cent in last two weeks. He said the government would not export the entire 2 million tonnes at a stretch and the committee would examine the situation and take decision at an appropriate time.
"Our idea is to get a better price (from exports) at the same time large chunk of the foodgrains produced in the country should go to the people of this country," he observed.
The new committee will also include representatives of the Agriculture Ministry, Food Ministry, FCI Chairman and Managing Director, Expenditure secretary, Thomas said, adding that the state-owned trading firms would call the tender.
Yesterday, CCEA permitted exports from FCI godowns as the government is grappling with storage capacity shortage. The godowns are overflowing with a record 82 million tonnes of foodgrains, as against the storing capacity of only 64 million tonnes.
India, the world's second largest producer of wheat, had harvested a record 90.23 million tonnes in the 2011-12 crop year (July-June), leading to a record procurement of nearly 38 million tonnes so far this year. In September last year, the government allowed wheat exports through private trade. Since then about 1.3 million tonnes have been exported.