Sitting on huge reserves of foodgrains, the government today allowed additional exports of up to 25 lakh tonnes of wheat from its own stocks to clear the surplus in godowns and ease storage crunch.
The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) also decided to continue exports of wheat and non-basmati rice through private trade. The ban on exports of these items through private trade was lifted in September last year in view of bumper output.
Later in July, the government had allowed exports of 20 lakh tonnes of wheat from government stocks through PSUs such as MMTC, STC and PEC till March 2013. Of this, 15 lakh tonnes have been contracted and 8 lakh tonnes shipped out so far.
Through private route, 30.8 lakh tonnes of wheat and 73.4 lakh tonne of non-basmati rice have been exported so far.
"The CCEA has approved an additional export of wheat from FCI godowns. The Cabinet did not mention any specific quantity for exports but there was an agreement to review exports once the shipments touch 25 lakh tonnes," a source said.
The CCEA allowed exports of additional quantity of wheat from the central pool as global prices are lucrative, the source added.
Wheat shipments from India have got higher price of up to $322 per tonne in the contracts entered by PSUs so far.
Exports of surplus wheat will ease storage problems. The government at present has a wheat stock of 40.5 million tonnes, alomost double the stipulated buffer stock requirement of 21.2 million tonnes.
The foodgrains stocks have piled up in the government godowns owing to record production and procurement in the last two consecutive years.
India is exporting wheat mainly to neighbouring Bangladesh, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Yemen, and Oman.
Wheat production stood at a record 93.9 million tonnes in 2011-12 crop year (July-June). The country is all set for a bumper wheat crop this year as well.