India is set to export a record 7 million tonnes of wheat this year as a rally in global prices gives the world’s second biggest producer of the grain an opportunity to gain market share, a top government official said.
“Indian wheat exports have picked up,” Sudhanshu Pandey, the most senior civil servant at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, told reporters on Saturday.
“By the end of February, we had already exported 6.6 million tonnes of wheat. Still one month is left.” In the 2012-13 fiscal year, India shipped a record 6.5 million tonnes.
A recent rally in international prices has made wheat shipments more lucrative for traders.
Benchmark wheat prices in Chicago have surged by more than 40% this week on fears of supply disruptions due to sanctions on Russia and the war in Ukraine.
Russia and Ukraine together account for 30% of world wheat exports.
Traders last week said India’s wheat exports were expected to accelerate with a flurry of enquiries from buyers seeking alternatives to Black Sea shipments.
India will also send 50,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan, Pandey said, in a bid to help the country facing poverty and hunger since the takeover by the Taliban last year.
New Delhi has already sent 4,000 tonnes of the grain to Afghanistan via an infrequently used land route through Pakistan.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell