Singapore: The U.S. wheat industry is aiming for sales of up to 1 million tonnes wheat to India this year as some of its proposals on quality specifications had been well received by New Delhi, a U.S. industry official said on Friday.
Last year, the United States could not sell wheat to India, which had imported 5.5 million tonnes of the grain, because of quality issues.
“We are confident of moving wheat to India this year,” Mark Samson, vice president for South Asia of the U.S. Wheat Associates, told Reuters. “Talks are moving in the positive direction.”
“We, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, had submitted some proposals to the Indian government. Some of them have received praise,” he added.
An Indian government delegation earlier this week held talks with U.S. officials on wheat safety issues.
India’s State Trading Corp. has tendered to import 1 million tonnes of wheat. The bidding deadline for the tender closes on 21 May.
Industry officials are hoping that India would need at least 3 million tonnes of wheat imports this year to meet its domestic requirements. Some traders expect that imports by India could be as high as 5 million tonnes.
“We are expecting to hear something from the Indian government on our proposals by the end of next week,” Samson said.
On Thursday, wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade closed sharply lower, shedding 2% of their value on seasonal pressure ahead of the U.S. winter wheat harvest. The benchmark July wheat contract ended down 11 cents, or 2.3%, at $4.85 per bushel.
India has one wheat crop a year, mostly in its northern states. Output has been stagnating around 70 million tonnes annually while consumption has been steadily growing.
The farm ministry has forecast that India’s wheat output would rise about 5.6% to 73.3 million tonnes this year, from 69.4 million in 2006.