Kochi: The Union food ministry is planning to make Kochi the hub for exporting wheat to Gulf countries, which might eat into the share of Thoothukudy and Bombay ports.
Union minister of state for food K.V. Thomas said here: “We’ve massive wheat stocks which exceed the strategic reserve requirement and buffer stock norms. So we plan to export the cereal to the Gulf countries in large quantities following the lifting of the restrictions. We found that Kochi is more geographically suited and it will also boost the storage facilities of the FCI.”
The country’s wheat production is likely to surpass the previous record of 94.88 million tonnes this year and the wheat stocks alone may touch 50 million tonnes.
Feeder vessels would be used to first transport the wheat to the FCI godowns here and then send the shipments to UAE and other Gulf countries. The government had recently cut the floor price for exports of wheat from warehouses by 13 per cent to boost stalled shipments.
The food ministry is also planning to bring rice from Andhra Pradesh to the state via sea route instead of the traditional surface transport.
The minister said, “the shipments of rice will be brought here and stored in the FCI godowns. They will be supplied to various areas of the state using the rail network. A high-level meet in Thiruvananthapuram scheduled on November 20 would work out the details,” he added....