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Bangladesh - World wide - May 19, 2022

Wheat from alternative sources still uncertain

Price shooting up in market

Mahfuz Emran: Bangladesh is looking for ways to import wheat from other countries in view of the imposition of ban on Indian exports. However, the traders think that the task is not very easy.
They say that not only Bangladesh but also other wheat importing countries of the world are looking for alternative ways to stop India’s exports. In this situation, the exporting countries are also under increasing pressure due to the reduction in global supply. Wheat prices are rising fast there too. As a result, even if wheat is found in alternative sources, the high price will have to be calculated.
On the other hand, this ban by India did not hinder the import of wheat from Bangladesh at G-to-G (Government to Government) level. Besides, as a neighboring country, India has an opportunity to export wheat subject to permission. If he gets the benefit, the traders of Bangladesh will also be able to bring wheat.
However, on Tuesday (May 16), India relaxed its wheat export ban.
The country’s commerce ministry said in a statement that shipments of wheat that have been handed over to customs for testing and registered with them on or before May 13 would be allowed to be exported.
According to the data, Ukraine and Russia are two of the world’s largest wheat exporters. Due to the war, exports from these two countries have stopped. The price of this product is increasing abnormally in the international market due to the sudden stoppage of wheat exports by India. In the last three days, the wheat benchmark index in Chicago, USA has risen to 5.9 percent, the highest in two months. The price of wheat in the international market has increased by about 60 percent this year.
In such a situation, the government is trying to import wheat from 5 alternative sources, said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi. He told the Secretariat that he had talked to the High Commissioner about importing wheat from Canada. We will also take initiative to import wheat from war-torn Ukraine.
However, the country’s top importers said that the alternative import route would not be very easy.
MA Kalam, managing director of TK Group, told that the wheat market has been in turmoil since the war. Again, in the wake of India’s announcement, the import challenge will increase. With Russia, Ukraine and India closed, everyone will now lean towards a limited number of exporting countries.
He said the price of wheat in the world market has already risen from $400 to $520. It used to be $300 to $350.
MA Kalam said that in this situation, the high price has to be calculated for whatever is available.
Abul Bashar Chowdhury, Chairman, BSM Group, said: That is why we are facing a big challenge. However, if the government takes appropriate steps, it will not be a problem to overcome the push of export ban. The government must be sincere now.
He further said that the government should take initiative to bring the wheat of open debentures to the country before the ban. Besides, activities should be carried out to give wheat to Bangladesh as a neighboring country. Wheat imports from India will continue to be the most beneficial.
Last Friday, India banned the export of wheat. However, there is no obstacle to the arrival of wheat which has been opened before LC. Earlier, Bangladeshi traders had entered into agreements with Indian suppliers for about 500,000 tonnes of wheat. In addition, India’s embargo notification states that wheat exports will be considered at the request of neighboring countries, which are trying to meet their own food security needs. Bangladesh will be able to take that opportunity.
In this regard, TapanKanti Ghosh, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, said that despite the ban imposed by India, there is still opportunity to import wheat at G-to-G (Government to Government) level. If the Ministry of Food shows interest or gives demand letter, the Ministry of Commerce will take action to import wheat accordingly. Food Secretary Nazmanara Khanum said that imports from India are on a G-to-G basis. Even today (Monday) there has been a tender. These activities will be further enhanced.
He said he had also talked to the Indian High Commissioner about the import opportunities that Bangladeshi traders have as a neighboring country,he agreed.
Nazmanara Khanum further said that the ministry is working to import wheat from other countries besides India. There is an agreement with Bulgaria. Efforts are also being made to reach out to other exporters, including Australia, Canada, Ukraine and Russia.
According to the Ministry of Food, the country has officially imported 4 lakh 42 thousand tons of wheat in the current financial year. 3 million tons have been imported in the private sector. Besides, the government is in the process of importing another three lakh tonnes. Until April 23 of the current financial year, LCs for importing another 8 lakh 26 thousand 360 tons of wheat have been opened. On the other hand, there are 1 lakh 17 thousand tons of wheat stored in different warehouses of the country.
Traders also say that if imports from India or alternative countries are guaranteed, there is no big fear in the long run even if prices rise temporarily. Because of the amount of wheat stocks and bonds that are open in the country at present, there will be no problem in the supply of wheat for next two-three months. Besides, our domestic yield is rising now, with which we can continue for a few more months. Again, after three-four months the yield will come in different countries. At that time wheat from Western European countries, Canada and the United States will be supplied to the world market. Then the extra pressure will go away.
Meanwhile, the price of wheat has been rising since the situation. The price of flour has gone up by Tk 200 per bag (50 kg) in the country on the eve of the latest news of a halt in India’s wheat imports. A sack of good quality flour is now being sold at Tk 2,250 to Tk 2,300. Manvede flour is being sold at Tk 2,480 to Tk 2,600 at Tk 2,600 to Tk 3,000.
According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), a government marketing agency, the price of flour has gone up by Tk 8 to 13 per kg and flour by Tk 18 to 24 per kg in the last one year.
On the other hand, the increase in the price of flour and meal in the market has affected the bakery products starting from hotel bread and parota.

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