• 18 Jun, 2024

India considering long-term purchases of pulses and wheat from Russia

India considering long-term purchases of pulses and wheat from Russia

The decision comes after three consecutive years of disappointing crop yields, leading to a sharp rise in prices.

India is considering resuming a six-year hiatus on wheat imports from Russia to replenish dwindling reserves and keep prices in check, a source told the Economic Times.

India plans to scrap a 40 percent tax on wheat imports this year. Another source told Reuters the move would pave the way for private traders and grain mills to buy limited quantities from Russia, the largest exporter.

Nidhi Khare, head of India's Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Public Distribution, said at the All-Russia Grain Forum on Thursday that India could start importing chickpeas from Russia if needed.

The Agriculture Ministry's Agricultural Export Centre reported that India's agricultural imports from Russia recorded a staggering 76 percent increase in the first quarter from the same period last year. The monetary value of these shipments is over $572 million. As the new wheat harvest is approaching, the government is likely to postpone the removal of import duties until after June, which coincides with the Russian harvest, the official added.

Pramod Kumar, president of the Federation of Indian Roller Flour Millers, told ET that removing wheat import duty is the most effective way to ensure adequate supply in the open market. A government official familiar with the matter said wheat import duty should be removed after June to allow import of wheat through private trade.

"To protect farmers' interests, the duty should be reintroduced before October when wheat sowing begins," he added.