Israel has bought the wheat that Turkey rejected on fictitious grounds and Egypt did not allow it in its waters a month ago.

Turkey had rejected 56,877 tonnes of Indian Durum wheat consignment on the ground it contained Rubella disease, a surprising development since it occurs only in humans. The shipment was sold by an Indian conglomerate to a Dutch trader.

In turn, a Turkish firm bought the wheat and both the sellers received the payment. The wheat was accepted at the port of loading after the buyer had checked the quality.

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal told the media in early June that the wheat was cleared as per Netherlands Foods and Agricultural Import regulations. “The Letter of Credit came from the Netherlands and the wheat met all the testing requirements. The wheat was to head for Holland but we have no knowledge of when it was diverted and who diverted it,” the Minister had said.

In a written reply in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, said some newspapers reported that Indian wheat consignment was rejected due to Rubella virus. “This virus is found in human beings and it is not associated with wheat or any other plant products,” he said.

Stating that the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) of Turkey had officially informed that the Indian wheat consignment was rejected due to contamination of ‘Karnal Bunt’ of the wheat pathogen (Tilletiaindica), he said the wheat consignment was inspected as per standard operating procedures for export of wheat and was found to be free from ‘Karnal Bunt’. “The same consignment was sent to Israel which was accepted by the Israeli Government,” he said.

Strict measures in place

On the steps being taken by the government to deal with such attempt to defame the country, he said strict quarantine measures are in place when exporting consignment outside India. The consignments are inspected by plant quarantine inspectors, laboratory tested and exported adhering to the phyto-sanitary requirements of other countries, he said.

Trade analysts told BusinessLine in June that there could be a couple of reasons why Turkey chose to reject Indian wheat. One, the Turkish president, Recept Tayyip Ergodan, has been inimical to India after Article 370, which gives special status to Kashmir, was scrapped by the Narendra Modi government.

The other reason could be Turkey was doing a tit-for-tat as its poppy seed shipments were curbed by an Indian trade cartel that is backing the Chinese produce.