The first shipment of Canadian wheat, under a 2,500,000 ton grain import programme, has arrived in India.
The first shipment of Canadian wheat, under a 2,500,000 ton grain import programme, has arrived in India. The S.S. Patagonia docked at Bombay on Sunday (February 4) carrying 15,500 tons.
India is suffering its worst drought for 10 years and has spent about GBP95,000,000 on wheat, milo and sorghum from Canada, the United States and Argentina. This will be delivered over the next 12 months.
Further imports are likely if India's winter crop does not come up to expectations. Fourteen states have been hit by the drought.
Bulk imports of grain had largely stopped since 1970, except for a few shipments on a casual basis. Since then India has managed to build up reasonable buffer stocks, but the current drought has seriously depleted these.
India is having to pay dearly for the new imports, as the grain has been bought on the open market, and not at the cheap concessional rates.
SYNOPSIS: The first vital shipment of Canadian wheat for India arrived at Bombay on Sunday. The consignment was the first in a two-and-a-half million ton import programme in a bib to alleviate India's worst drought for ten years. India is buying grain from the United States and Argentina, as well as Canada, over a twelve-month period.
The situation is so desperate that top priority is being given at Indian ports to grain-carrying ships. Chartered bulk carriers are expected to deliver about ninety thousand tons of grain a month at Bombay. The country had recovered from the nineteen sixty-six famine and grain imports had largely stopped. But reserves built up over the past two years have been seriously depleted.
India is paying about ninety-five million pounds for the new grain deal. It has had to buy on the open market, instead of obtaining the usual concessional rates. The price averages out at forty-seven pounds a ton for wheat, but less for other grains.