* India has ample rice, wheat stocks; eyes stable trade
* Poor rainfall in key oilseeds, pulses growing regions may
(Adds quote, details)
NEW DELHI, Sept 11 India is likely to continue
exports of wheat and rice despite worries over output because of
poor monsoon rains, Food Minister K.V. Thomas said on Tuesday,
as the country has ample stocks from last year's harvest and
wants to stabilise trade policy.
India, the world's second-biggest producer of rice and
wheat, has received 8 percent lower rainfall than average since
the beginning of the monsoon season on June 1 in what has turned
out to be a drought year.
"We are working on a mechanism to have a stable
export-import policy on select farm commodities such as rice,
wheat and sugar," Thomas said, adding, the policy will benefit
both farmers and the industry.
India lifted a four-year old ban on wheat and common grade
rice exports by private traders in September 2011 after the
government granaries swelled. The government has also permitted
2 million tonnes of wheat exports from its own warehouses.
India's wheat stocks at government warehouses on Aug. 1 were
47.5 million tonnes, more than three times the official target
of 17.1 million tonnes for the quarter ending September.
Rice inventory for the same period was 28.5 million tonnes
against a target of 9.8 million tonnes.
Poor monsoon rainfall in key oilseeds and pulses growing
regions is likely to hit their output, Thomas told reporters on
the sidelines of a conference.
The expected drop in output pushed up local edible oil
prices to record highs last month, while prices for summer-sown
pulses also surged, helped also by demand ahead of key
The south Asian country relies on imports of pulses and
edible oils to meet local consumption.
India's total edible oil imports in the current year ending
Oct. 31 could rise 13 percent to 9.5 million tonnes, while next
year it may rise by as much as 10 percent if the poor monsoon
cuts planting and hurts yields of oilseeds, said the country's
leading edible oil importer in July.
The country is the world's biggest importer of edible oils
and buys most of its requirement in the form of palm oil from
Malaysia and Indonesia.
India annually imports around 3 million tonnes of pulses,
mostly yellow peas, chickpeas and pigeon peas.
(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj and Ratnajyoti Dutta: Writing by
Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Jo Winterbottom and Himani Sarkar)