Egypt, one of the world’s largest importers of wheat, which imports the grain from Russia and Ukraine, has agreed to source supplies from India, Union Minister for Trade and Industry Piyush Goyal said on Friday.
“Officials from Egypt’s Agricultural Quarantine and Pest Risk Analysis visited various processing units, port facilities and farms in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. And we have chosen to export the best quality wheat,” said the minister.
Mr Goyal said Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him to ensure the best quality wheat is exported to Egypt to ensure India makes a mark in that country in terms of wheat exports.
The Egyptian delegation’s visit to India follows several trade talks and meetings with various wheat-importing countries exploring options for sourcing grain from alternative sources as supplies have been disrupted due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“During his visit to Dubai last month, Union Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal also met Egyptian Planning and Economic Development Minister Dr. Hala El-Said, and discussed India’s readiness to supply high-quality wheat to ensure Egypt’s food security,” the government said in a press release.
Egypt imported 6.1 million tons (mt) of wheat in 2021 when India was not on the list of accredited countries that could export wheat to Egypt.
More than 80% of Egypt’s wheat imports, valued at $2 billion in 2021, came from Russia and Ukraine.
The growth in wheat exports is mainly driven by demand from countries such as Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Oman and Malaysia, the government statement said.
However, India is scrambling to boost wheat exports to other countries including Yemen, Afghanistan and Indonesia.
India was a relatively minor player in the global wheat trade until 2020-21. India could only export about 0.2 million and 2 million tons of wheat in 2019-20 and 2020-21, respectively, the minister said.