Agri Business

Fungal disease poses hurdle in Iran buying Indian wheat

| Updated on: Oct 31, 2012
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But Teheran may buy 6 million tonnes spread over 3 years

Iran may import Indian wheat after a long hiatus even as quality aspects remain a thorny issue.

Talks between the two nations, which have been going on for the past 11 months, are in advanced stages to tie up a deal on wheat.

Quality issue

But the quality issue over the presence of a fungal disease ‘Karnal bunt’ in the Indian grain has come in the way. Karnal bunt is a fungal disease that affects wheat and lowers yield.

A high-level delegation from Iran consisting of officials from General Trading Corporation (the Indian equivalent of State Trading Corporation) and quarantine department are currently in New Delhi discussing the modalities.

“They (Iran) want zero tolerance to Karnal bunt,” sources said.

The Iranian quarantine officials held discussions with their Indian counterparts.

basmati rice imports

Sources said Iran is looking to enter into a long-term deal with India to import about six million tonnes spread over three years.

Incidentally, the West Asian nation is the largest buyer of Indian basmati rice and imported over one million tonnes in 2011-12 accounting for over a third of India’s exports.

Iran had stopped importing Indian wheat since mid-1990s over the presence of Karnal bunt.

The West Asian nation has now turned to India for wheat imports to meet its requirement as global supplies dwindle on drought hurting crops in the US, Russia and Ukraine.

The global interest in Indian wheat is on the rise over shortfall in supplies. Malaysia had recently expressed interest to buy wheat from India on a long-term basis through diplomatic channel.

India, which produced 93.9 million tonnes of wheat for 2011-12 season that ended in June is presently sitting on a stock pile of over 40 mt.

As of October 1, the Central pool stocks stood at 43.15 mt more than three times the buffer and strategic reserve requirement of 14 mt.

Wheat exports from India have crossed three mt, bulk of which is from the private trade.

The Government agencies have contracted about one million tonnes for exports and have actually shipped about five lakh tonnes so far.

Bulk of the Indian exports so far have been destined to the Far Eastern nations such as Korea, Taiwan and neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Yemen among others.


Published on March 12, 2018

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