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India could import 7-20 lt of wheat next season

Our Bureau

New Delhi , March 7

The global wheat trade sees India importing between seven lakh tonnes (lt) and 20 lt of the foodgrain the next season starting June.

"We expect India to import between 15 lt and 20 lt," said Mr Mark Samson, Vice-President for South Asia, US Wheat Associates.

While private traders put the figure at around one lt, trade missions of other countries that look at India as an opportunity put it between seven lakh tonnes and 15 lakh tonnes.

Mr Samson, who is here in connection with the International Seminar on Wheat and Wheat Products - Emerging Trends and Opportunities, said the Union Government might have estimated the wheat crop higher.

At the inauguration of the seminar, representatives of the Government did not refer to the production estimates.

Call for better marketing

The Union Minister of State for Food, Mr Akilesh Prasad Singh, called for better marketing of wheat products, while the Union Food Secretary, Mr R.N. Das, said projects such as fortification of wheat flour were being carried out to address the health problems.

Mr B. Mishra, Project Director, Directorate of Wheat Research, said efforts were on to reduce the cost of cultivating wheat and increase farmers' profitability through new schemes.

Mr S.S. Singh of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute called for producing superior quality wheat to meet increasing food needs.

Mr G. Chandrashekhar, Commodities Editor, Business Line, said production was not keeping pace with rising demand and hence, India could go the China way - importing wheat and oilseeds in a big way.

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