The Centre has decided to complete the despatch of 10,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan in the next two weeks of which two consignments totalling 4,000 tonnes have already been sent, officials said.

“It is being sent to the people of Afghanistan as humanitarian aid through the United Nations World Food Programme (UN-WFP). Our trucks are taking the grains up to Jalalabad for the delivery via Pakistan,” a top government official said. While there may be about 50,000 tonnes to be shipped to Afghanistan over the next few months, the government has prioritised sending 10,000 tonnes immediately, he said.

Gesture well received

Stressing that the quality of wheat being sent to the neighbouring country has met global standards, the official said that the humanitarian gesture of India has been received well by the people of Afghanistan. The timing of the aid is also very important as the global prices of wheat have flared up after the Russia-Ukraine war, he said.

“Humanity above all. Thanks to our hardworking farmers, India has been able to supply to the people in Afghanistan with good quality wheat as humanitarian assistance. India knows to treat its friends well,” Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted.

The government has been highlighting the high quality of India’s wheat ever since media reports from Afghanistan pointed to dissatisfaction among people there with regard to quality of the wheat from Pakistan. A company official of a Kabul-based bread factory recently said that the grains donated by Pakistan arrived rotten, eaten by insects and totally unworthy of being used while wheat donated by India was of good quality.

The first shipment of wheat sent by India reached Jalalabad on February 26, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay had earlier said.