Wheat flour exports to be restricted

Chennai/New Delhi: After wheat, export of wheat flour too could be banned or restricted soon. The Cabinet has given its approval to either restrict or ban wheat flour exports.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has on Thursday approved the proposal for amendment of policy of exemption for wheat or meslin flour from export restrictions or ban.

The approval will now allow the authorities to restrict export of wheat flour to curb rising prices of the flour, the government said. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) will issue a notification to this effect soon.

India had banned wheat exports on May 13 to control rising domestic prices amid concerns over local output being hit by high temperatures and global supply shortages due to the Ukraine war. The daily average retail price of wheat had then increased 19.34 per cent compared to the same period a year ago.

However, due to prohibition on export of wheat, the demand for wheat flour has increased in foreign markets and its exports from India have moved up 200 per cent during April-July 2022 compared to the year-ago period.

The increased demand for wheat flour in the international market led to significant price rise of wheat flour in the domestic market. Even wheat prices have risen 14 per cent in the past one-and-a-half month in the domestic market.

The government had restricted exports of maida and semolina from August 14. However, there was a policy not to prohibit or put any restrictions on the export of wheat flour. A change in the policy could be made only after seeking the recommendation of the inter-ministerial committee on export of wheat. The policy has now been changed by the Cabinet committee.

Exports of meslin flour, which is a wheat and rye blend, also can be banned soon. Meslin is sown, harvested and traded along with wheat.

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