India Excludes Nepal From Its Wheat Export List


Nov 25, 2022 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minute

Wheat, Nepal’s third largest cereal crop in both area and production after rice and corn, contributes about 21% to the cereal area and 19% to the cereal production of the country. It is sowed in mid-November and harvested in mid-April. The most Wheat-producing area is located in Terai; out of total Wheat production areas, 58% lies in the Tarai and contributes 66.2% of the whole Wheat production in the country. Wheat-growing farm in Nepal averages about 0.8 ha (ranging from 0.5 – 10 ha).

According to preliminary estimates issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, the Wheat harvest is likely to rise by less than 1 percent to 2.02 million tons. Nepal witnessed a record Wheat output of 1.97 million tons in 2014-15. Production plunged 12.1 percent to a six-year low of 1.73 million tons in 2015-16 due to the winter drought.

Harvests jumped 6 percent in 2016-17, reaching 1.84 million tons. The country’s Wheat production stood at a record 1.94 million tons in 2017-18 despite a prolonged winter drought. In 2018-19, output swelled to 2.08 million tons; in 2019-20, the harvest reached an all-time high of 2.18 million tons. Last year, the drought lessened the Wheat output by 8 percent to 2.00 million tons, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development.

This year, farmers lost time clearing their fields due to wet crops. Even after the harvest, they had to wait to plant their Wheat crops because of excess soil moisture and cold soil temperature. “Early sowing of Wheat can lengthen the growing season and deliver increased yields. Delayed sowing will shorten the growing season, thus reducing yield potential,” said Satya Narayan Mandal, a retired soil scientist. Usually, grain yield declines by 1 percent with each day of delay in sowing.

“Many farmers were worried and sowed their Wheat crops, and the impact was seen in seed germination,” said Ram Krishna Regmi, chief statistician at the Ministry. Farmers also faced a shortage of diammonium phosphate (DAP) fertilizer for their winter crop. In India, delayed sowing and loss of yield due to abnormal heat waves in the significant Wheat-growing states prompted the Government to slap an export ban, except to its South Asian neighbors. Nepal purchased Wheat and meslin worth US$69 Million from India in 2021, according to the United Nations.

Indian effect on the Nepalese Wheat Sector

On May 13, the Indian Government prohibited all private Wheat exports with immediate effect. The latest development is that India has excluded Nepal from the list of Wheat-exporting countries. Nepal was left out of the Wheat export quota by the Government of India due to the delay in part of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies. This has cast doubt on the import of 600,000 metric tons of Wheat required by the domestic flour industry.

India decided export Wheat to Bangladesh, Indonesia, Yemen, the UAE, and Oman under a quota system. Since those countries took the initiative in time, New Delhi has permitted to export Wheat to those countries by setting quotas. Although the Minister of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies has repeatedly promised to take the initiative to import Wheat, 32 flour industries operating in the country face Wheat shortages.

Avinash Bohora, Central member of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the President of the Province 1 chapter of Nepal India Industry and Commerce Association, said that if the Government does not bring Wheat immediately, there will be a shortage. He said that not only the flour industry but more than 250 other related industries would be affected.

Other sources: New Business Age

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