April 24, 2006


India to import 3 million tonnes of wheat in 2006



India will import 3 million tonnes of wheat in 2006, in addition to the 500,000 tonnes already purchased last month, Food Minister Sharad Pawar said Friday (Apr 21).


"The imports will take place immediately to ensure adequate buffer stocks in government granaries," Pawar said.


Pawar said government agencies will be told to import wheat without paying any import taxes.


He said imports will take place through the tender process.


The government has raised the local intervention price of wheat by Rp500 a tonne, Pawar said. This will take the price of wheat to Rp7,000 a tonne.


The Indian government buys wheat and rice from farmers at a pre-decided intervention price.


The new price will be effective on a retrospective basis from March 20, 2006.


He said the government is likely to purchase 15 million tonnes wheat from farmers in the current financial year to Mar 2007.


Turning to sugar, Pawar said output is likely to be 19 million tonnes in the current marketing year to Sep 2006.


He said the government will decide next week whether to give blanket permission to all sugar mills for exports. Currently, only mills which have earlier imported raws are allowed to export white sugar. The rest can export whites but only through government owned State Trading Corp, which has been recently authorised to export 300,000 tonnes sugar.


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