The case of rejection of wheat consignments sent from India to Turkey and Egypt is constantly in the news. Turkey had complained of the rubella virus in India’s wheat.
After this, there was a report of this consignment of wheat being stranded at the port of Israel.
A statement has come from the CEO of ITC’s Agrobusiness Department, the company that sends this wheat to Turkey, which he has denied the news of wheat spoilage.
Rajinikanth Rai, CEO of the company’s agribusiness department, said that the consignment of wheat he had sent to Turkey met the quality standards.
He said during an interview that this consignment of 55,000 tonnes of wheat was sold to a Dutch company, ETG Commodities.
This Dutch company had selected a Swiss company SGS for the quality test of wheat.
Rubella virus is a rumour in India’s wheat.
Rai said ITC delivered quality wheat, and the consignment was dispatched in mid-May. We later learned that ETG had sold the consignment to a Turkish buyer. At the end of May, we learned that Turkey rejected the consignment. Both ITC and ETG have been paid for this deal.
But neither we nor ETG came to know about the reasons for rejecting the wheat consignment, he said. Reports of rubella virus in wheat, low protein content in grain or Turkey or Egypt have left it are just rumours.
Rai said the consignment was never sent to Egypt. Now the shipment is waiting to be unloaded at the Israeli port.
This statement of Rai indicates that a new buyer has been found for this consignment.
The wheat sent to Turkey was of excellent quality.
An official of an international commodity trading company said on anonymity that there could be commercial or geopolitical reasons behind this. Raising the wheat quality issue seems to tarnish India’s reputation as a global grain supplier.
A trade analyst S. Chandrasekaran said in an interview that a handful of traders in Europe control the wheat trade in the Middle East and Africa markets.
He said that having the rubella virus in India’s wheat is a myth that Turkey has fabricated.
According to Rai, ITC exported about 18 lakh tonnes of wheat in 2021-2022. The company shipped 1.3 million tonnes of wheat in May this year.
He said, but no problem was reported in any consignment. The wheat that was sent to Turkey was of excellent quality. It was wheat from Madhya Pradesh, in which the protein content is about 14 per cent.
India had banned the export of wheat on May 13, after which India faced a lot of criticism at the international level. India took this step, intending to increase the food prices at the domestic level.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, wheat prices in the international market in May were up 56 per cent year-on-year.
Global food prices have risen since Russia attacked Ukraine.
Turkey’s attempt to control the wheat market
India has been an essential partner in the wheat trade in the world. The current wheat crisis has emerged as an opportunity for India.
He said Turkey wants to get the wheat consignment stuck at Ukraine’s Odesa port. By doing this, Turkey is trying to control the global wheat market.
If the ongoing talks between Ukraine, Russia and Turkey are successful, then large quantities of wheat trapped in Ukraine will reach the global markets in a controlled manner.
That is why Turkey is rejecting India’s wheat, he said.
By rejecting India’s wheat, he is trying to signal to the market that a large quantity of grain will soon be supplied, and Turkey will transport it.
He said India might become a victim of an influential trade lobby and global geopolitics.