NEW DELHI: The government has extended by two months the deadline for state-run trading firms to import grain duty-free as the government attempts to boost stockpiles of the commodity.
India’s State Trading Corp. and the Food Corp. can import duty-free wheat till the end of April, the commerce ministry said in a notification dated 13 March and posted on its website on Wednesday. The exemption applies to the 5 million tonnes that the companies had contracted to buy last year, the ministry said.
“The notification is just to enable the companies to import without any hassles and keep government supplies intact,” said Pramod Kumar, executive director at Bangalore–based Sunil Agro Foods Ltd.
India’s state-run firms and private traders contracted to import 6.5mt of wheat last year to meet a production gap, helping prices on the Chicago Board of Trade reach a 10-year high in October. The output this year may exceed 72.5mt.
India’s state-run firms received 5.38mt of wheat they agreed to import as of 7 March, the food ministry said.
India’s Cabinet will decide the amount of wheat the nation may buy this year and set a quota for imports of the grain by non-state-owned traders, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said yesterday in New Delhi