Thursday, 30 June, 2022

India’s wheat export ban: Flour price soars

Prices of both coarse and fine flour (atta and maida) shot up in the wholesale market soon after the news of the ban on wheat export from India.

Wholesalers and importers also fear that the price of flour would increase further if they have to import the item from the US, Canada and other countries.

However, Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder on Sunday said India’s restriction on wheat export will not affect Bangladesh and it will not face any food shortage.

There would still be scope to import wheat from India at government to government (G2G) level, he also pointed out.

“We used to import wheat from Russia and Ukraine which is now halted due to the raging war situation there. We have imported three tonnes of wheat from India and the import will continue,” he added.

Abul Bashar Chowdhury, chairman of BSM Group, told the Daily Sun that before the war between Russia and Ukraine, the import cost of wheat was $230-240 per tonnes but the price increased to Tk $400 per tonnes from India.

“The price of wheat is much higher in US, Canada and some other countries. Price of wheat will rise further in other countries after the export ban imposed by India,” he said.

North American wheat prices increased to above $ 500 a tonne in the recent months while Eurasian wheat surpassed $380 a tonne, said the importers.

On May 13, the Indian Directorate General of Foreign Trade in a notification imposed a ban for an indefinite period on wheat export to ensure a smooth supply of the essential in its domestic market.

It also mentioned in the notification that export will also be allowed to the neighbouring countries based on the request of their government based on permission granted by the Government of India.

Abdur Razzak, formers president of Moulvibazar Wholesalers Association, told the Daily Sun that the prices of all kinds of wheat flour have already increased this week.

“Importer created an artificial crisis after the news of export ban of wheat from India on Friday. Price of per sack atta and maida has increased by Tk 200 to 500, depending on the stock,” he said.

According to the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the prices of all kinds of flour increased on May 13 in the capital.

“Loose atta price increased by 13.70 percent and was selling at Tk 38-45 per kg and loose maida price increased by 5.75 percent in a week and was sold at Tk 56-60 per kg on Saturday, according to TCB.

Bangladesh produces around 1.1 million (11 lakh) tonnes of wheat annually against the demand for 7.5 million (75 lakh) tonnes.

According to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) data, from 1 July till 30 April in the FY2021-22, a total of 5,546,000 (55 lakh 46 thousand) tonnes of wheat was imported.

Bangladesh's imports from Russia and Ukraine came to a stop after the war started at the end of February. Then importers began to import wheat from India.

According to NBR, from 1 March till 12 May, Bangladesh imported 687,000 tonnes of wheat. Some 63 per cent of wheat came from India and the rest from Canada, Argentina, Australia and other countries.