India hikes wheat import duty to support local farmers

Local wheat prices have fallen over 11 percent in 2019 due to ample supply from last year’s crop and forecasts of record output. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2019

India hikes wheat import duty to support local farmers

  • It comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party looks to contain rural discontent due to lower crop prices
  • India’s wheat production will rise 2 percent in 2019 from the year before to a record 99.12 million tons, according to estimates

MUMBAI: India has raised its import duty on wheat to 40 percent from 30 percent, the government said late on Friday, as the world’s No. 2 producer of the grain tries to support local farmers.
The step comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party looks to contain rural discontent due to lower crop prices amid voting in a general election that began on April 11 and ends on May 19.
Local wheat prices have fallen over 11 percent in 2019 due to ample supply from last year’s crop and forecasts of record output. The hike in duty is likely to make imports of wheat unviable for flour mills even after recent declines in global prices , potentially dragging further on global grain markets.
“Local wheat production is higher. The government is now trying to ensure prices remain above support levels,” said Harish Galipelli, head of commodities and currencies at Inditrade Derivatives & Commodities in Mumbai.
India has raised the price at which it buys new-season wheat from local farmers by 6 percent to 1,840 rupees per 100 kg for 2019.
The government usually purchases about a quarter of such wheat from farmers at state-set prices to build stocks to run a major food welfare program.
India’s wheat production will rise 2 percent in 2019 from the year before to a record 99.12 million tons, according to estimates from the country’s agriculture department.
Only one wheat crop is grown in India each year, with planting starting in late October and harvesting in March.
Government wheat stocks stood at 17 million tons as of April 1, up nearly 30 percent from the same time a year ago.
“At 40 percent import duty, imports are not viable for flour mills. They have to buy local crop,” said a Mumbai-based grain dealer with a global trading firm. He declined to be identified as he was not authorized to speak with media.
Indian flour millers imported 1.65 million tons of wheat in the 2017/18 fiscal year, down from 5.7 million tons the year before. Those shipments were mainly from Australia, Russia and Ukraine.


Hungry Davos attendees to sample Saudi delicacies at Misk cafe

Updated 20 January 2020

Hungry Davos attendees to sample Saudi delicacies at Misk cafe

  • The Saudi Café – operated by a Saudi chef, will introduce a piece of Saudi culture to the WEF
  • Misk also plans to release research at Davos

LONDON: Davos delegates will get to sample a taste of Saudi Arabia at a cafe in the event venue in Switzerland this week.
It is one of a series of initiatives organized by the Misk Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic foundation established by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It aims to empower Saudi youth to become active participants in the Kingdom’s future economy.
“The Saudi Café – operated by a Saudi chef, will introduce a piece of Saudi culture to the WEF,” the Misk Global Foundation said in a statement on the eve of the gathering.
Some 3,000 leaders from the worlds of business, public policy, culture and technology are due to arrive in the Alpine town of Davos for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which begins on Tuesday.
Positioned at Promenade 80 and open daily to all, the Saudi Café will also offer networking and working spaces alongside coffee and traditional Saudi delicacies.
Misk also plans to release research at Davos highlighting how some of the biggest challenges facing attendees can be addressed by youth-led solutions.