Wheat, the staple food crop of India is an integral part of Indian economy and food security. India which is second largest producer of wheat

in the world with an increasing trend in the recent past, is now facing the problem of plenty after an estimated record production of 93.9 million tones during 2011-12 crop year (July-June).Surplus wheat production has created a steep fall in domestic price and problem of storage as the stocks in the government godowns have already crossed the allotted storage capacity. To mention, farmers of Ganganagar district of Rajasthan even stored the harvested produce in cremation ground. The surplus produce can be cleared off either by public distribution system (food security) or exports. Holding stocks beyond the threshold level to feed millions, currently, India is working on wheat exports to ease domestic storage crisis.

Exports, either in raw form or value addition based on the market demand are crucial to farmers’ income, consumer welfare, as well as government budgets and the economy. The demand for quality wheat and range of products is increasing in international markets owing to the change in the consumer preference and taste. The term ‘wheat quality’ refers to the quality demand by the consumer, and may be a combination of wheat, flour, dough and end product attributes, as well as consistency within and between deliveries. The attributes of wheat quality are generally derived from the variety grown (Table 1), the growing conditions and post-harvest handling. On the contrary, demand for quality wheat change from time to time in response to the consumer taste and preference. Hence it is mandatory to understand the changing consumer preference and market demand across the world so that Indian farmers can produce quality wheat based on the demand and earn huge profit by selling at premium export price. For example; Japan, China and many South-East Asian countries demand hard wheat for preparing noodles. On the other hand, soft wheat is used for cookies or biscuit manufacturing. Understanding the wheat quality requirements of international markets can help Indian farmers to ensure market share, to stay ahead of international competitors and moreover to achieve premium price based on the quality parameter rather than selling bulk quantity of wheat at minimum support price (MSP) in the nearby mandi or farm gate price to the traders.

 

Table 1. Classes of Indian wheat and their quality parameters

 

Class

Grain Type

Quality parameters

Varieties

Demand for

Medium hard bread wheat

Medium grain size, medium hard

Dry gluten: 9%

Protein: >10%

HLW: 76

Seed moisture:11%

Total defects: 6%

Extraction efficiency: <69%

Sedimentation value: <40

PBW 343, HD 2786, RAJ 3077, LOK 1, GW 273

Chappati, Naan, Tandori, Rumali Roti, Poori...

Hard bread wheat (premium)

Bold and lustrous

Dry gluten: 9%

Protein: >12%

HLW: 80

Seed moisture:11%

Extraction efficiency: 70%

C 306, Sujatha, HW 2004, HD 2189, DWR 162, GW 496, HD 2733

Maida

Soft bread wheat (biscuit wheat)

Yellowish or white grain

Hardness: < 5.3

Dry gluten: 7%

Protein: >9.5%

HLW: 75

Seed moisture:12%

Total defects: 6%

Extraction efficiency: 68%

Biscuit spread factor: >7.5

Pissi (local land race of Central Zone) and local land races of Northern Hill Zone

Biscuit

Durum wheat

Large and hard kernel

Beta Carotene: >5ppm

Protein: >12%

HLW:>78

Seed moisture:11%

PDW 233, WH 896, HI 8498, RAJ 1555, MACS 2846…

Semolina, Pasta, Pizza bases, Burger…

Dicoccum wheat

Hard kernel, longish and not plump

Beta Carotene: >5ppm

HLW:>78

Protein: >13%

Seed moisture:10%

Local Khapli land races, NP 200, DDK 1009…

Semolina and for high-protein foods

 

 

Currently Indian wheat is procured in bulk irrespective of the quality by the government at the MSP to feed the nation and the excess is exported to countries based on the bilateral relations under WTO agreement. Though there are different classes in Indian wheat, but they are not in operation as there is no declared price difference between a good quality wheat and bad quality wheat, though there exists miniscule price difference based on the grade owing to the traders’ assessment in the grain market. An effective regulated quality standards system and its awareness among the stakeholders is need at this hour so as to facilitate trade by providing opportunities for wheat cultivators and traders to capture market demand through value addition. Quality regulation is much important in wheat export at times of surplus as it provides a benchmark for trade and gives the brand recognition of “Indian Wheat”.


Authors:

Om Prakash Gupta*, Sendhil R and Gupta R.K.

Directorate of Wheat Research, 

Karnal, Haryana, India-132 001

*This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.