New Delhi, Feb. 20: The government plans to allow the export of 5 million tonnes wheat by private traders to create storage space for the new crop, which will start arriving from April.
"We are thinking of allowing private traders to export wheat from the Food Corporation of India (FCI). Discussions have been held in various ministries. The cabinet will soon take a call," officials said.
As on February 1, the FCI had a wheat stock of 30.8 million tonnes. The government is under pressure to create storage space for the new wheat crop, which will be harvested from April. Wheat output is estimated to be 92.3 million tonnes in 2012-13.
So far, the government has allowed the export of 4.5 million tonnes of wheat from the central stock, mainly by state-run entities. Private traders exported about 2 million tonnes, which was sourced from the open market.
Analysts said a decision should be taken soon to take advantage of global prices, which were expected to rise in the coming months because of a lingering drought in the US and low production in major exporting countries such as Australia, Russia and Argentina.
The country lifted a ban on wheat exports by private companies in September 2011. Since then, private companies have exported about 6.5 million tonnes bought directly from farmers, but their stocks have dwindled in recent months.