India says no plans for now to curb food exports

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FILE PHOTO: Price tags are seen on the samples of rice and lentils that are kept on display for sale at a wholesale market in the old quarters of Delhi
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By Mayank Bhardwaj

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has no plans to curb food exports for now, Piyush Goyal, the Minister for Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution said on Friday, weeks after New Delhi banned private wheat exports.

"As of now we do not see the need to do it on any other commodity," Goyal said answering a query whether the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was considering banning the export of food products such as rice.

India banned wheat exports on May 14, just days after New Delhi forecast record shipments of 10 million tonnes this year, as a heat wave hit output and sent domestic prices to record highs.

A few weeks later, India imposed restrictions on sugar exports for the first time in six years by capping this season's exports at 10 million tonnes to prevent a surge in domestic prices after mills sold a record volume on the world market.

The government's surprise decision to ban wheat exports and restrict sugar exports had raised doubts about some curbs on overseas sales of rice as well.

In the fiscal year to March 2022, India, the world's biggest rice exporter, sold a record 21.2 million tonnes of the grain on the global market, up from 17.8 million tonnes in the previous year.

Late last month, government and industry officials told Reuters that India did not plan to curb rice exports.

Crop-nourishing monsoon rains will play an important role in determining this year's rice harvests, and plentiful monsoon rains will help New Delhi maintain its preeminent position in the global rice trade.

Goyal also said a government panel is currently examining requests from foreign governments for supplies of wheat.

India would consider "genuine requirements" for wheat of other countries, he said.

Separately, India's foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said: "Foreign ministers of some countries have called me up (for wheat from India) and we have assured them that they would have access to our markets."

(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; editing by David Evans)

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