Piyush Goyal says a panel has been set up to look at quality standards for exporting food products, not just cereals, but also other food products, to 180 countries around the world

Piyush Goyal says a panel has been set up to look at quality standards for exporting food products, not just cereals, but also other food products, to 180 countries around the world

The Russian-Ukrainian war has created challenges around the world in terms of food grain supplies and the Indian government is looking to intervene with a likely export of 100 lakh tonnes of grain this year, with the first quarter itself driving orders of 35 lakh tons.

Trade Minister Piyush Goyal, who is also Minister of Food and Public Distribution, said The Hindu that his ministry had set up an internal committee to examine the quality standards for exporting food products, not only cereals, but also other food products, to 180 countries around the world.

“There is nothing wrong with the quality of our cereals and other food products, but specific countries have particular quality standards and also different requirements for food products. The internal committee seeks to match this that we have and to put in place documents to facilitate We plan to file 2,000 export applications to countries heavily dependent on Russian and Ukrainian grain,” he said.

India viewed the situation “not as an opportunity”, but as a solution that could provide a compassionate solution to countries in need which had arisen out of a “very unfortunate situation”.

Find new ways like FTAs

Regarding the effect of the war on India’s trade with Russia and Ukraine, he said the crisis will not affect India significantly as it finds new avenues like FTAs (free trade agreements) with the United Arab Emirates and others.

“This government means business. We don’t want to do business, but we want to be an enabler. We mean business when we say India will be aligned with the world. All countries are looking at this. But the good thing is our total trade with ukraine and russia is not very big our exports are around 2.5-3 billion dollars and imports were around 10 or 11 billion dollars So there are a few areas that may have a bit of an impact, but given that we’re expanding our engagements with Australia and the UAE and now discussions are ongoing with the European Union – and we will more than make up for any opportunities that we might lose,” Mr. Goyal observed.

The government was working on short-term procurement of items such as sunflower seeds from Ukraine as India was also helping other countries that were also affected, he added.