India: New Wheat Supplier of Egypt

Egypt, the world’s largest importer of wheat from Ukraine and Russia, has given approval to India as one of its wheat suppliers. India will be supplying around one million tonnes of wheat, of which in April 2,40,000 tonnes will be shipped. In a year, Egypt purchases 11 to 12 million tonnes of wheat from Ukraine, Russia, and other countries.

Overview:

  • After a rigorous process of checks of quarantine facilities and field visits by Egyptian officials in India after there were complaints of Indian wheat infected with ‘karnal bunt’ disease, the export was approved.
  • The officials visited wheat fields in UP, Madhya Pradesh, and Punjab to check the wheat quality produced in the country.
  • In FY23, India aims to export 10 to 11 million tonnes of wheat as global demand is surging following the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Import of wheat from Ukraine and Russia by Egypt

From Russia, Egypt has imported wheat worth around USD 1.8 billion, and from Ukraine worth around USD 610.8 million.

India’s wheat exports

In the period of April to January 2021-22, the wheat exports of India rose to USD 1.74 billion while in the same period in 2020-21 it was USD 340.17 million. In 2019-20 the wheat exports of the country were worth USD 61.84 million, and in 2020-21 it was USD 549.67 million. Bangladesh is the biggest importer of Indian wheat. India has also entered new markets like Afghanistan, Yemen, Indonesia, and Qatar. The country is looking to replace the Ukrainian and Russian dominance in around 30 wheat importing countries across the planet. Out of these 30 countries, around 10 to 15 are existing customers, but the share of India is very less. The remaining countries are exclusive buyers of Russian and Ukrainian wheat. In the world, India’s wheat exports account for less than 1 percent. The share has increased to 0.54 percent in 2020 from 0.14 percent in 2016.

Top 10 Indian wheat importing countries in 2020-21

  1. Bangladesh
  2. Nepal
  3. The United Arab Emirates
  4. Sri Lanka
  5. Yemen
  6. Afghanistan
  7. Qatar
  8. Indonesia
  9. Oman
  10. Malaysia.

Wheat production in India

The world’s second-largest wheat producer is India with a share of around 14.14 percent in global wheat production in 2020. Annually, the country produces 107.59 million tonnes of wheat with a majority of it being used for domestic consumption (98 million tonnes). The major wheat-growing states are Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.

The rise in prices of Indian wheat in the global market

The prices of Indian wheat shot up to USD 360 per tonne in the aftermath of the crisis. Indian wheat is still the cheapest in the global market and the absence of Russia and Ukraine from the global markets presents the nation with a huge opportunity to export record quantities of wheat.

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