India To Ship Wheat To Afghanistan As Aid: Sources
Saturday, 25 April 2009

India, facing surplus stocks of grains, will soon send 250,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan as aid, official sources said, raising hopes the ban on exports of the staple will be lifted after elections.

India is expected to produce 77.78 million tonnes of wheat in 2009, almost as much as last year's record, creating a shortage of storage space as exports have been banned for two years.

Analysts say the new government, which would be elected after the month-long elections are completed in May, is likely to allow exports.

Wheat would be sent to Afghanistan via Iran as Pakistan did not allow transit across its territory, which is a shorter route, senior government officials involved in the decision told Reuters on Friday.

One of India's state-run trading firms will supply the grain to Afghanistan through Chabahar, termed as the closest access point of Iran to the Indian ocean, one official told Reuters.

"An Afghan delegation is in India and currently visiting many wholesale wheat markets of Punjab," another official, who did not wish to be identified, said.

The northern state of Punjab is one of the leading wheat producers in the country.

He said the delegation has met senior officials of some trading firms.


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