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Delivery of Australian wheat imports has been delayed

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 14 (UNI) The delivery of wheat imports that India contracted from Australia have become uncertain with Australian Quarantine Inspection Service(AQIS) refusing to certify shipments meant for export conformed to the norms declared by the Australian exporting agency.

The Australian Wheat Board(AWB),a monopoly exporting body has committed to despatch entire five lakh tonnes of contracted wheat to India by May 15. But so far, only 92,000 tonnes has been unloaded at thre Southern Indian ports. Despatch of the rest of the stock to the tune of 4,08000 tonnes to India has been withheld, atleast for the time-being, for want of mandatory certification from the AQIS which should concur the quality standards given out by the AWB, official sources said here today.

Though India has, recently, relaxed the quality specifications for the imported wheat allowing a certain percentage of fungal pathogens like ergots and dwarf bunt-hitherto not present in India-but Australian wheat carries as many as eleven weeds, nine of them exotic for the importing country.

Similarly, the pesticide residues in the Australian wheat stocks are more than what were given out by the AWB to push through its exports.

The yawning gap between the quality speciafications given out by AWB, also a Australian government body and that of AQIS has been preventing the latter from issuing the required certification for wheat stocks meant for export to India.

Thus, the sources said , the further delivery of contracted wheat stocks to India within the stipulated period is embroiled into an uncertainty.

However, officials of Union Food Ministry which assigned the Government -run State Trading Corporation to canalise the imports are tight-lipped on the newly cropped up tangle.

UNI JSS KD DB1004

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