March 28: The Indian Embassy has extended the deadline for exporting wheat to Nepal until May 31.
Earlier, the Government of India had fixed the date of March 31 for Nepali traders to purchase 16,951 tons out of the quota of 50,000 metric tons of wheat allocated for export to Nepal. This amount of wheat was allocated especially for traders. Meanwhile, 33,049 tons of wheat belonging to the industrialists has already entered Nepal, resulting in decline in prices of flour.
Out of the quota distributed by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply, 22 business firms are yet to bring wheat. Officials of the Morang Merchants’ Association had requested Indian Ambassador Naveen Srivastava to extend deadline during his recent visit to Biratnagar. The association had also written to the Indian embassy to extend the deadline. Upon their request, the embassy extended the deadline by two months for the import of about 17,000 tons of wheat. Secretary of Nepal Flour Mills Association and Vice President of Morang Merchants’ Association Bikash Begwani said that the decision of the Indian Embassy has resolved the problem of shortage of wheat in Nepal to some extent.
The current price of wheat in Nepal is Rs 48 per kg. Before the arrival of wheat from India, its price was Rs 65 per kg. In India, wheat is now available at Rs 38 per kg. After 10 days, a new batch of wheat will hit Nepali and Indian markets. The association expects the price to remain at Rs 40 per kg in Nepal and Rs 32 per kg in India.
After the arrival of wheat from India, the price of flour has also decreased from Rs 85 to Rs 67 per kg and the price of bran dropped from Rs 56 to Rs 44 per kg. Secretary Begwani said that after the new wheat comes to the market, the price will go down further.
Kumud Dugad, president of the association said that the government should demand 400,000 tons of wheat from the Indian government to prevent wheat shortage in the country in the future. He said that the demand for wheat should be placed immediately as the domestic production will barely last for five months. He says that the government should take timely action as it will take two months for the Indian government to fix the quota.