India strikes wheat export deal

by Emily Wilson
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NEW DELHI — On January 22, India struck its first wheat export deal in four years by agreeing to sell 50,000 tonnes of wheat to Nepal. Government officials said India is considering more export agreements with the Middle East, Indonesia and other countries due to surplus wheat.

Last month, India issued a 50% duty on wheat imports after southern-India flour millers began importing wheat, finding it cheaper than transporting domestic grain. Officials say the duty has stopped all imports and will influence farmers to grow more wheat.

India has set a wheat output target of 74 million tonnes for 1999/2000 (July-June) and produced a record 73-million tonnes of wheat in 1998/99.