EGoM meet on Sep 6 to discuss exports of wheat, rice

New Delhi: An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on Food is scheduled to meet on September 6 to discuss a proposal for allowing exports of two million tonnes of both wheat and non-basmati rice, the Food Minister, Mr K.V. Thomas, said on Friday.

“The EGoM on Food will meet on September 6 and the issue of exports of wheat and non-basmati rice will be taken up,” he told PTI.

Wheat exports have been banned since early 2007. In July this year, the Government had lifted an over three-year ban on non-basmati rice exports, allowing overseas shipment of one million tonnes.

However, the shipments have been put on hold following a Delhi High Court order.

Mr Thomas said the Food Ministry has suggested permitting exports of two million tonnes of wheat and two million tonnes of non-basmati rice, which includes one million tonnes of parboiled rice.

“The international prices of wheat are going up. So there should be some export,” he added.

India is estimated to have harvested a record 85.93 million tonnes of wheat and 95.32 mt of rice in the 2010-11 crop year (July-June).

In early July, the EGoM had given in-principle approval for wheat exports, but did not decide on the quantity, considering the low global price prevailing at that time.

The government is considering allowing exports on the back of record foodgrains output in the 2010-11 crop year.

Government godowns are overflowing with wheat and rice stocks and the Food Corporation of India is facing a storage crunch.

As of August 1, FCI held 61.1 million tonnes of wheat and rice, which was much higher than the buffer stock norm prescribed by the government.