Friday 1 July 2022
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Egypt 3rd Islamic country to reject Indian wheat after Turkey, Indonesia

After Turkey refused to accept this consignment, complaining about the presence of the rubella virus in Indian wheat, the consignment was redirected to Egypt

After Turkey rejected an Indian wheat export consignment last week under the pretext that the stock could be infested with the rubella virus, and an Indonesian state agency complained about the condition of wheat imported from India, a third Islamic country, Egypt, has refused to give entry to about 55,000 tonnes of wheat. Originally this wheat was to go to Turkey.

In April, the authority of another Islamic country, the Indonesian Agricultural Quarantine Agency, had issued five non-compliances, three of which were related to dried red chillies, and two to peanuts.

The rejection by Turkey was explained by a government official as “political”, a euphemism for “religious”. The source had cited Turkey’s deteriorating with India and improving relations with the fellow Islamic country of Pakistan on several issues including terrorism for which has been put on the grey list by the Financial Action Task Force on terrorism.

Reuters quoted Egypt’s Plant Quarantine Chief Ahmed Al Attar as saying that the carrying 55,000 tonnes of wheat was refused before it could enter Egypt. The Turkish quarantine authorities had already banned the arrival of this ship.

Turkey had refused to accept this consignment, complaining about the presence of the Rubella virus in Indian wheat. The consignment was then redirected to Egypt. However, the wheat consignment sent to Turkey was not exported directly from India. It was sold by the Indian company ITC Limited to a company based in the Netherlands. After that, it reached Turkey.

An Egyptian trader bought the consignment and the has now left for the African country with wheat. According to news agency Reuters, has rejected the Indian export too.

This is happening amidst a global wheat crisis due to the discontinuation of exports from warring Russia and Ukraine, the larger wheat producers in the world. Further, Islamic countries have mostly been hostile towards India, with several instances of ganging up to vote against India in world forums and endorsing the Pakistani position on Kashmir.

The Indian government has confirmed that it will wait for customs clearance to export wheat to Egypt. Earlier, on the return of Turkey’s wheat, Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey had said on 2 June that the quarantine and other necessary procedures were completed before the wheat consignment was despatched from India. He had said that talks with the Turkish authorities had not yet been held on the refusal to take the consignment of wheat.

world’s largest wheat importer

Although is the world’s largest wheat importer. In May itself, Egypt’s Supply Minister Ali Moselhy made a deal to buy 5 lakh tonnes of wheat directly from India. This deal was to be separate from the normal tender process, but it has not been signed yet. Earlier in April, the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture had allowed the import of wheat from India.

In the international market, the price of wheat in the member states of the European Union (EU) is around Rs 43 per kg while Indian wheat is selling at Rs 26 per kg. The difference in prices between the two is Rs 17 per kg.

India imposed a ban on export of wheat

Recently, on 13 May, India had banned the export of wheat under a contingency plan in view of the war. Earlier, India had approved a consignment of 56,000 tonnes of wheat to Turkey.

Egyptian Minister Ali Moselhi had also made it clear that this ban would not affect the deal between India and Egypt, because these bans do not affect the import-export between the two governments.

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