New Delhi: An Iranian trade delegation is scheduled to visit India in the first week of June to discuss issues related to wheat exports from here, Food Minister K V Thomas said on Wednesday.

"An Iranian trade delegation is coming to India in the first week of June to discuss wheat exports, especially the issue of 'Karnal bunt'," Thomas said.

Iran is keen on importing the Indian wheat now, but faces the hurdles of quality guidelines. Suspecting a fungal disease, Iran in 1996 had banned Indian wheat. The West Asian nation had suspected that Indian wheat was infested with 'Karnal bunt' -- the fungal disease.

At present, the Agriculture Ministry is co-ordinating with the Iran government with regard to the quality issue in wheat exports because Iranian traders have made import requests to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

APEDA is the export promotion body for farm items. Karnal bunt, a fungal disease of wheat, was first reported in 1931 from Karnal, Haryana. The disease primarily spreads through contaminated seeds.

A senior APEDA official said Iran presents huge opportunities in wheat exports and at least 1.5 million tons of wheat can be exported if Iran removes the ban.

India, which lifted four year-old ban on wheat exports in September 2011, is in a comfortable situation to sell the grain abroad due to record production of 90.23 million tons.

Even the stockpiles in the government godowns are above the required levels.

(Agencies)

Latest News from Business News Desk