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Canadian Wheat Board makes biggest wheat sale to India in a decade
WINNIPEG (CP) _ The Canadian Wheat Board has made its first significant wheat sale to India in a decade.

The wheat board confirmed Thursday it has sold 720,000 tonnes of hard red spring wheat to the country.

''It's a good sale,'' said board spokeswoman Maureen Fitzhenry. Price and grade quality were not released, but the wheat board said delivery would conclude in December.

Also Thursday, the Ontario Wheat Producers' Marketing Board said it had concluded a deal to sell 300,000 tonnes of mainly soft red winter wheat to India.

Larry Shapton, general manager of the Ontario board, said he received confirmation of the sale Wednesday.

India has imported very little wheat in recent years, Fitzhenry said.

''They've even been an exporter of wheat from time to time,'' she said. ''So the fact that they've entered the market with some demand this year has been significant.''

The sales are welcome news for Prairie growers, who harvested a large crop last year, Fitzhenry said.

Rick Steinke, director of market analysis with the Canadian Wheat Board, said India has experienced poorer growing conditions the past two seasons, and its wheat stocks have fallen.

The Indian government procures wheat for food programs to feed the poor.

Until now, it's found enough supplies at home, but not this year, Steinke said.

''Those (government) stocks have been constantly declining (and) they haven't been able to procure enough of their own domestic wheat crop. So they're now on the world market buying some wheat, so it's good news.''

The 720,000-tonne wheat sale is the biggest the Canadian Wheat Board has made to India since 1992-93, when it sold 847,000 tonnes. The last significant purchase by India from Canada was in 1996-97, when it took 266,000 tonnes.

Steinke said India has imported 3.5 million tonnes of wheat from all sources so far this year.

It hasn't imported so much since 1982-83, when it bought 4.3 million tonnes.
MGR Archive 2.7.2006
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