Egypt approves India as wheat supplier : Egypt, one of the largest importers of wheat from Ukraine and Russia, has recognized India as a wheat supplier, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has said. Due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, there has been a sharp decline in the availability of wheat in the global market. Both the countries are major producers and exporters of wheat.
Egypt imported wheat worth USD 1.8 billion from Russia and USD 610.8 million from Ukraine in 2020. African countries plan to import 1 million tonnes of wheat from India, which is expected to reach 240,000 tonnes in April.
Indian farmers are providing food to the world. Egypt has recognized India as a wheat supplier. The Modi government is taking this step at a time when the world is looking for reliable alternative sources for a stable food supply. “Our farmers have assured us of food grains and we are ready to serve the world,” Goyal said in a tweet.
India’s wheat exports increased to US$ 1.74 billion in April-January 2021-22 from US$ 340.17 million in the same period last year. In 2019-20, wheat exports stood at USD 61.84 million, up from USD 549.67 million in 2020-21.
In 2020-21, India’s wheat exports were mainly to neighboring countries, with Bangladesh accounting for over 54 per cent. Countries like Yemen, Afghanistan, Qatar and Indonesia are new to the market.
The top ten Indian wheat importers in 2020-21 were Bangladesh, Nepal, UAE, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Afghanistan, Qatar, Indonesia, Oman and Malaysia.
India’s share in world wheat exports is less than 1 per cent. The share has increased from 0.14 percent in 2016 to 0.54 percent in 2020. India is the second largest producer of wheat, accounting for 14.14 per cent of the world’s total production in 2020.
India produces about 107.59 million tonnes of wheat annually and a major part of this goes for domestic consumption. Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Gujarat are the major wheat producing states of India.
The Egyptian authorities have identified India as the source of this strategic item. The Ministry of Commerce said in a statement that officials in Egypt for Agricultural Separation and Pest Risk Analysis Visited various processing units, port facilities and farms in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab.
The Egyptian delegation visited India after several trade talks and meetings with various wheat importing countries exploring the possibility of procuring grain from alternative sources due to supply disruptions due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. During a visit to Dubai last month, Goyal also met Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala Al-Saeed and discussed India’s readiness to supply high-quality wheat to ensure Egypt’s food security.
Egypt imported 6.1 million tonnes (MT) of wheat in 2021 and India was not part of the list of countries recognized as exporting wheat to African countries. More than 80 percent of Egypt’s wheat imports will be worth close to USD 2 billion in 2021, which will come from Russia and Ukraine.
“Our target is to export three million tonnes of wheat to Egypt this year,” said Angmuthu, chairman of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
APEDA had earlier asked Indian exporters to register with Egypt’s public procurement agency – the General Authority of Supply and Commodities, which manages wheat and sugar imports from North African countries.
APEDA will send business delegations to Morocco, Tunisia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Algeria and Lebanon to explore the possibility of increasing wheat exports from India.
According to the estimates of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, India exported a record 7 metric tonnes of wheat in 2021-22, valued at USD 2.05 billion. Demand from countries like Bangladesh, UAE, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Oman and Malaysia boosted wheat exports.
As of 2020-21, India was considered a relatively small country in the global wheat trade. India was able to export 0.2 MT and 2 MT of wheat in 2019-20 and 2020-21 respectively. The Ministry of Commerce has constituted a Task Force on Wheat Exports consisting of representatives of various Ministries including Commerce, Shipping and Railways and Exporters under the principles of APEDA.
The Andhra Pradesh Maritime Board, which operates the Kakinada Anchorage port, is primarily used for rice exports, and is likely to use the facility for wheat exports.