Egypt, one of the world’s biggest importers of wheat which has been importing wheat from Russia and Ukraine , has agreed to source wheat from India opening an window of opportunity, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal said on Friday.
He said Egyptian authorities have put India as one of the origins for the import of this commodity. “Officials from agriculture quarantine and pest risk analysis of Egypt visited various processing units, port facilities and farms in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. And we have decided to export the best quality of wheat,” the minister said.
He said the prime minister had specially called him to ensure that the best quality of wheat is exported to Egypt to ensure that India makes it mark in that country in terms of wheat exports. The Egyptian delegation’s visit to India follows several trade talks and meetings with the various wheat importing countries, which are exploring possibilities of sourcing grain from alternate sources as supplies have been disrupted because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “During his visit to Dubai last month, Union Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal had also met Egypt’s Minister of Planning & Economic Development Dr. Hala El-Said and discussed India’s readiness to supply high quality wheat towards ensuring Egypt’s food security,” the Press Information Bureau (PIN) said in a statement. Egypt imported 6.1 million tonnes (mt) of wheat in 2021 and India was not part of the list of accredited countries which can export wheat to Egypt, PIB said. More than 80% of Egypt’s wheat imports estimated to be close to $2 billion in 2021 were from Russia and Ukraine. Growth in wheat exports is driven mostly by the demand from countries such as Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Oman and Malaysia, the PIB said. However, APEDA is making efforts to boost wheat exports to other countries including Yemen, Afghanistan and Indonesia. India had been a relatively marginal player in global wheat trade until 2020-21. India could export only about 0.2 mt and 2 mt of wheat in 2019-20 and 2020-21 respectively, the minister said. The commerce ministry has set up a task force on wheat exports with representatives from various ministries, including commerce, shipping and railways, and exporters under the aegis of APEDA.