The 56,000-ton cargo of Indian durum wheat, pushed back by Egypt and Turkey, is currently docked at an Israeli port awaiting news of its final destination, government officials said.
Officials, however, denied there was a link between the rejection of the shipment and the current political furor in West Asia over anti-Islamic remarks made by suspended Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Nupur Sharma.
The Indian government maintains that the consignment exported by ITC Ltd had passed quarantine requirements when it left India.
“The wheat shipment was refused by Turkey because the wheat protein content was below 13-14%, which is a key food safety regulation for Turkey and Egypt had refused the shipment without taking samples for testing,” the official said.
“Usually the government does not get involved in such situations because the financial transaction has been completed and the ITC has been paid. But since it was Indian wheat, we are keeping track,” the official added.
Mint previously reported that the wheat shipment was sold in the Netherlands, but was diverted to Turkey and then to Egypt. The two countries did not accept the wheat amid reports that the shipment contained a non-plant virus.
The shipment left India before a wheat export ban was announced on May 13. The shipment could be valued in the millions as the price of wheat internationally jumped sharply after the Russian-Ukrainian war. The price of wheat on the international market is around 450 to 480 dollars per ton, according to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
“The reason for rejection was protein content and not phytosanitary issues,” one of the officials said, adding that political reasons may also be at play. However, another official said that although India shares strained relations with certain countries, international trade is holding up. his own legs.
“Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is not the best, but we buy oil. Political issues have little to do with trade,” the second official added.
When a shipment is rejected, there are usually three options: the exporter can destroy it, divert it or return it to the original source, an expert said, adding that destroying a shipment is usually the last option , but this has happened in the past.
Moreover, wheat is not a perishable commodity and is often stored in India for months, the expert added.
Last week Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the government was investigating the reason for Turkey’s rejection.
Questions sent to spokespersons for the Ministry of Trade and Industry, ITC and the embassies of Israel, Egypt and Turkey were not answered by press time.
ITC maintains that it exported to Dutch customers on FOB (free on board) terms and that the shipment was loaded after being checked and cleared by the inspectors appointed by the buyer as well as by the phytosanitary authorities.
FOB is a shipping term used to indicate whether the seller or buyer is responsible for goods damaged or destroyed during shipment.
Experts said Indian agricultural exports have often been rejected due to phytosanitary issues. Earlier this year, Indonesia suspended Indian agricultural exports after reporting quality issues. Furthermore, India has not registered laboratories that test for food safety and do not issue certificates of analysis.