India’s wheat import is likely to touch 4.5-5 million tonnes this fiscal but inward shipments may fall significantly in 2017-18 as estimates suggest record production next year, according to flour millers’ body.
The country had imported about 5,00,000 tonnes of wheat during the previous financial year.
Private traders, including flour millers, are not entering into any fresh wheat import contracts as they fear imposition of custom duty. That apart, the relaxation in fumigation rules is valid till March only.
“We have imported about 4 million tonnes of wheat so far this financial year. We will be importing about 4.5-5 million tonnes this fiscal,” Roller Flour Millers’ Federation of India Ex-President MK Datta Raj said.
Asked about imports in the next fiscal, Datta Raj said, “Imports will be less as bumper crop is in the offing. The government has set a procurement target of 33 million tonnes which they would achieve.”
Moreover, he said the possibility of imposition of import duty and end of relaxation in fumigation rules post March are some of the factors restricting traders to enter into import contracts for delivery after March.
“Generally, cargoes have to be fumigated with methyl bromide at the ports of loading. The government has allowed to do fumigation at the ports of unloading. This relaxation is valid till March 31 only,” Datta Raj said, adding that methyl bromide is banned in many countries.
Wheat output is projected to be 96.64 million tonnes in 2016-17 crop year (July-June) as against 92.29 million tonnes in 2015-16. The previous record was 95.85 million tonnes achieved in 2013-14 crop year.
The government has fixed wheat procurement target at 33 million tonnes during the marketing year starting April as against 22.96 million tonnes purchased by FCI during this year.