The Centre has allowed export of an additional five million tonnes of wheat from Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns to create storage space for the new rabi crop.

According to Minister of State for Food K.V. Thomas, the export will be undertaken by private trade on behalf of the government. Earlier, only public sector trading companies were allowed to export 4.5 million tonnes released from FCI godowns.

The Food Ministry’s proposal was approved by a Group of Ministers (GoM) comprising Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and Mr. Thomas. The matter was referred to the GoM by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

Mr. Thomas said only private traders would be allowed to export the additional 5 million tonnes and PSUs would have no role in it.

“A separate CCEA note will be moved once the current allocated quantity is exhausted,” he said.

Recognised private traders will be allowed to export through a bidding process at a base price of the minimum support price of wheat plus taxes in Punjab as the commodity will be lifted from there.

“Private traders will initially be allowed to export wheat that is lying in the Punjab godowns and they have to bear the transport cost till port for the export,” the Minister added.

The new rabi crop will start coming to the mandis and procurement will commence from month-end.