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‘No ban,’ India restricts exports of wheat flour (aata) and other derivatives

On the back of global supply disruptions in wheat and wheat flour government has amended its export policy of wheat flour (atta) and other related products like maida, semolina (rava / sirgi), wholemeal atta and resultant atta.

According to a notification from India’s top body for foreign trade regulation body, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), export of wheat flour remains free but will be subject to the recommendation of inter-ministerial committee on the export of Wheat. The decision will come into effect from July 12.

The DGFT notification, which was issued on July 6 has made it mandatory for all exporters to seek prior permission from the inter-ministerial committee on wheat export before undertaking any outbound shipment.

It further read, “global supply disruptions in wheat and wheat flour have created many new players and have led to price fluctuations and potential quality-related issues. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain the quality of wheat flour exports from India.”

The export policy of wheat flour does remain free and there is no outright ban on it, however, exporters must seek permission from an Inter-Ministerial Committee on wheat export.

Last month food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey had indicated a possible curb on wheat flour exports, suggesting wheat should not be converted to “excessive” amounts of atta for exports as wheat is a regulated commodity.

About 30 LMT (lakh metric tonnes, or 3 million tonnes) of wheat have been exported during this quarter, Government officials said. A number of countries have approached India seeking wheat after the 13 May wheat export ban. Those requests are being considered, according to the official mentioned above.

Also, before this revised policy comes into effect, certain consignments of wheat flour will be allowed to be exported including situations wherein the loading of wheat flour on the ship has commenced before this notification, and where wheat flour consignment has been handed over to the Customs and is registered in their system.

Last month centre had amended the export policy of wheat by putting its export under the “prohibited” category.

The government had then stated that the move was made with the purpose to manage the overall food security of the country as well as meeting the needs of the neighbouring and other vulnerable countries.

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