Govt orders restrictions on export of maida, semolina and wheat flour

The government has restricted the exports of maida, semolina and all variants of wheat flour (atta), a month after it curbed exports of plain atta. According to the official order, exports of maida, semolina etc will be allowed subject to clearance from the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on wheat exports.

Last month, the government had curbed exports of wheat flour and before that it had banned wheat exports on May 13. The series of measures have been taken to stop the sharp rise in domestic wheat prices which have flared up since March due to low production and a steep drop in official procurement.

India has targeted over 30-odd Russian-Ukrainian markets to ship local wheat. Exporters say they aren’t merely looking to serve a stop-gap requirement but want to become credible long-term suppliers. India is looking to replace Russia and Ukraine in around 30-odd wheat importing countries across the globe, a senior government official said.

The government has been keeping a close watch on exports of wheat flour which witnessed a surge since the ban on wheat shipments was announced on May 13. According to the food ministry, over 250,000 tonnes of  wheat flour has been exported since April 1, 2022.

Trade sources said monthly exports of wheat flour at this time of year had been around 7,000 to 8,000 tonnes. However, exports have seen a surge to around 100,000 tonnes since the wheat export ban was imposed. Wheat flour is mostly being exported to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. In value terms, exports of wheat or meslin flour jumped by 64% last fiscal from a year before to $ 247 million, according to the DGCIS data. In the current fiscal so far, India has exported close to 3 million tonnes (MT) of wheat.

India shipped a record 7 MT of wheat worth $2 billion in FY22, against just 2.1 MT worth $ 0.55 billion in FY21. Several countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, the UAE, South Korea, Oman and Yemen have approached India for wheat imports under bilateral arrangements between governments.

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