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India's Wheat Stocks...

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A record harvest and bulging government stocks will rule out wheat imports by India this year, while African countries are keen to buy grains from India, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said on Wednesday. "There is no question of (wheat) imports this year. In fact, we might be able to keep some reserves for next year," Pawar told reporters.
India imported 5.5 million tonnes of wheat in 2006 -- its first purchases in six years -- after a poor crop and had to go back to global markets for a smaller quantity at a higher price last year. It uses grain stocks to run welfare schemes.
Pawar said government agencies may buy 17-19 tonnes of new season wheat from local farmers this year, exceeding its target of 15 million tonnes. "Farmers are selling about one million tonnes a day and we hope this trend to continue for at least next 10 days," he said.
Pawar said the government had already achieved 60 percent of the procurement target and official agencies will lap up all the grain offered by farmers. "My expectation is that my kitty position will rise substantially. Whatever wheat will come to the market, we will buy," the minister said.
On Tuesday, India said it expected to harvest a record 76.78 million tonnes of wheat this year, about two million tonnes more than previously forecast.
Fast-rising food prices have pushed inflation to three-year peaks in recent weeks and India has moved to boost supplies of staple commodities.
Pawar said African countries were keen to buy grains from India, but did not say which staple they were seeking.
"There is tremendous pressure from some African countries for supplying foodgrains to them, but we are taking a little conservative approach," he said.


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