India is planning to become the world’s leading wheat exporter amid the ongoing conflict between top suppliers Russia and Ukraine, Mint newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing sources in the Indian government.
According to the publication, India wants to take advantage of the situation amid the large number of requests from buyers looking for alternatives to supplies from Russia and Ukraine.
The publication mentions several measures New Delhi intends to take within the next two weeks to ensure growth in exports. These include ordering government-certified labs to urgently test the quality of wheat for export, making port authorities prioritize wheat exports, and providing additional rail wagons for transporting grain.
With these steps, India is aiming to help growers export higher quality grain to show global buyers that the country can secure a steady supply of high-protein wheat, the sources said. The government selected 213 laboratories to test the quality of wheat for export, and also asked the state standards bureau to control the quality.
India had signed contracts to export 7 million tons of wheat in the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31. It is a record high for the country, which is one of the world’s largest producers of the grain, but has traditionally consumed the lion’s share of its production domestically. Still, the current export value would only make India the world’s ninth-biggest exporter of wheat, according to Statista.com.
Russia is currently the world’s largest exporter of wheat, accounting for over 18% of international exports. However, grain shipments from Russia more than halved last month due to Ukraine-related sanctions, which resulted in traffic restrictions in sea and river ports, the country’s grain union said in early March.
This week, Russia temporarily banned grain exports (including wheat) to the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union in order to secure the domestic market amid sanctions.
The situation has already resulted in skyrocketing wheat prices. The grain’s May futures reached a record high on March 7, jumping to $13.63 per bushel, up 60% since the beginning of the year.
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