Turkish authorities denied permission to an Indian wheat consignment over phytosanitary concerns, prompting a ship to initiate its return journey on May 29, traders were quoted as saying by S&P Global Commodity Insights on Tuesday.
The development has caused concern among Indian traders as at least 1.5 million tonne of wheat are due to be exported.
According to an update by S&P Global Commodity Insights, which quoted shipping data from tracker Kpler, the MV Ince Akdeniz loaded with 56,877 tonnes of durum wheat is now headed back to Kandla port from Turkey.
“The wheat consignment was detected with Indian Rubella disease and was rejected by the Turkish ministry of agriculture and forestry,” S&P Global Commodity Insights quoted traders based in Istanbul.
India’s commerce and agriculture ministries did not respond to queries seeking a comment.
These shipments were finalised before India imposed a ban on private wheat exports. In April, consumer-inflation reading in Asia’s third-largest economy rose to their highest levels in eight years, at 7.79%. Worryingly, food prices climbed 8.38%. High inflation played out even in surplus items, such as wheat, whose prices jumped 20% last month, as traders doubled down on exports.
India suspended overseas sales after forecasting wheat output would fall 3% to 106 million tonne due to a scorching summer, against a previous forecast of 111.32 tonne made in February.
“Presence of Indian Rubella plant disease will be a serious concern for any importing nation but this is a rare instance in the case of Indian wheat. Traders are obviously worried,” said Abhishek Agrawal of trading firm Comtrade.
Although India is not a big exporter of wheat, several countries are counting on its supplies to make good on a global shortfall due to the Ukraine war. Exporters shipped a record 7 million tonne in the year ending March 2022.
The Russia-Ukraine crisis had opened the doors for India to export large quantities of wheat as global prices had surged above domestic floor prices.