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Iran keen to sign long-term wheat import deal with India: Govt

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

India lifted ban on wheat exports in September 2011 on account of record production in two consecutive years. However, Iran has not been importing the Indian wheat due to quality hurdles since 1996.

Few months ago, the sanction-hit Iran had sent a delegation to India to check the quality of Indian wheat.

It had also taken wheat samples for quality analysis.

"Iran had taken samples and has responded positively. It is interested to import wheat from India on a long-term basis," Thomas told PTI when asked about the progress made in export of wheat to Iran.

The global prices are very high and 1-2 million tonnes of wheat can go this year, he added.

Asked whether India will export wheat to Iran via diplomatic route, the minister said, "We are still working on modalities."

Sources said a delegation from India will soon visit Iran to discuss about wheat exports.

Due to the bumper crop, the government's godowns are overflowing with foodgrains stock of 76 million tonnes, as against the storage capacity of 71.4 million tonnes.

To clear space, the government has allowed export of 2 million tonnes of wheat from central stocks and shipments are taking place steadily. Through private trade, over 1.5 million tonnes of wheat has been exported so far.

Last year, the country had harvested a record 93.90 million tonnes of wheat due to good monsoon.

First Published: Wed, September 19 2012. 15:15 IST