Agribazaar, one of India’s leading online market places for commodities trading, on Wednesday struck the first online wheat export deal to ship 50,000 tonnes to Turkey, post the start of the Ukraine war. Separately, Jordan decided to buy 60,000 tonnes of wheat from Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprises Ltd, which will likely source the grain from India.
Amith Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Agribazaar, told BusinessLine that the deal is the first enquiry to be closed successfully post the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “Otherwise, our portal gets enquiries from international buyers on a regular basis and currently, we have a few live conversations,” he said.
Swiss Singapore offer
The wheat, which will be sourced from multi States, is valued at ₹125 crore and meets all international quality parameters, Aggarwal said.
In another development, Jordan, through its Ministry of Industry Trade and Supply, picked up the lowest bid of $436 a tonne from Swiss Singapore. It will be delivered in the second half of June. The Singapore-based firm’s quote was lower than the global agribusiness cooperative CHS, which offered the wheat at $487.13 a tonne, and Canadian firm Vittera, which quoted $500.
According to the International Grains Council, free-on-board wheat prices are $425 a tonne of European Union origin and $456 of Argentine origin. US Soft Winter Red Wheat is quoted at $442 and Hard Winter Red Wheat at $506. In contrast, Indian wheat is offered at a competitive price.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, benchmark wheat futures are currently ruling near an 11-year high of $11.12 a bushel ($408.59 a tonne).
Rush of deals
Delhi-based exporter Rajesh Paharia Jain said the wheat consignment for Jordan will “99.9 per cent be sourced from India”.
There is a sudden rush of wheat export deals this week after a lull last week, particularly after concerns were raised over India’s wheat production being lower than initial estimates of a record 111.34 mt and low procurement by the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
At least 1.5 mt wheat was exported last month, while an equal amount is expected to be shipped out this month.
On the export deal to Turkey, Aggarwal said the order was placed online and facilitated electronically on his firm’s platform. “Buyers and sellers can interact in a secure and transparent environment on our platform,” he said. All quality parameters have been mutually agreed upon between the buyers and sellers, he said, adding that other countries, especially from West Asia and Europe, are making enquiries on the Agribazaar portal.
‘Ample wheat for PDS’
Aggarwal said export demand for wheat is high but he would not be able to put a number on how much his firm could ship out. “India has enough wheat stored for PDS (public distribution system) and hence, domestic demand will be met,” he said.
Exports will benefit Indian farmers additionally as they are getting a higher price than the minimum support price of ₹2,015 a quintal.
Indian wheat has been in demand in the export market, particularly in South, South-East and West Asia besides North Africa in view of supplies being cut from Russia and Ukraine, which together accounted for nearly 30 per cent of global exports until the conflict broke out.
India’s wheat production has been revised lower to 105 mt, though the trade fears it might be lowered further. Initially, the Centre had targeted at least 10 mt of wheat exports this fiscal against a record 7.87 mt last fiscal. It has subsequently been scaled lower to 8-10 mt.