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India export bans to continue

posted Mar 12, 2011, 11:25 PM by NAVYUG Info
In a signal that food security remains in the minds of policy setters in one of the world’s burgeoning economies, India is unlikely to lift exports of wheat and non-basmati rice, according to a recent US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report.
This comes in spite of a strong year of production, which had some analysts suggesting India would re-enter the export wheat market. India has not been an exporter of wheat since 2007 and of non-basmati rice since 2008, due to inflation concerns.

The USDA said food security and inflation were the major drivers behind the long-term ban. It estimated the Indian wheat crop at 83 million tonnes for the 2011-12 marketing year, which runs from April to March, which is up at the higher end of the spectrum.

There are also high wheat stocks, but the Indian government is taking no risks. Reports are that the government has 21.5 million tonnes of wheat in reserve, copared to the usual figure of 11.2 million tonnes.

Meanwhile, an exception to the export ban has been made on diplomatic grounds, with the Indian government granting permission for 100,000 tonnes of wheat to be donated to Afghanistan on diplomatic grounds.