Thukten Zangpo 

The import of wheat flour both atta and maida stopped after the Indian government prohibited its export on August 27.

A grocery wholesaler in Thimphu said they could not import atta and maida  for almost 10 days now. “The export has been stopped by the Indian government.”

He said that his store imports about 100,000kg of maida in a month.

Some bakeries in Thimphu closed with the shortage in the market. 

An official from the economic affairs ministry said that the government had already taken up the issue and requested the Indian government to consider exports to Bhutan. “We are expecting anytime soon.”

India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade notified: “Export policy of items (wheat or meslin flour, maida, semolina, wholemeal atta, and resultant atta) is amended from free to prohibited.”

However, the export of these items would be allowed subject to permission of the Indian government in certain cases.

The notification stated that the provisions under the foreign trade policy 2015-2020, regarding the transitional arrangements, would “not” be applicable.

The Indian government placed restrictions on the export of wheat flour, maida, semolina and wholemeal atta to curb the rising prices of the commodity.

After the Indian government put up the restriction on the export of wheat in May, the demand for Indian wheat flour increased.

Russia and Ukraine conflict has led to global wheat supply chain disruptions since these two countries were major exporters of wheat.

The increase in demand for wheat flour overseas led to a significant price rise of the commodity in India.

Media reported that wheat flour export from India shot 200 percent from April to July this year compared to last year.

According to Bhutan Trade Statistics 2021, Bhutan imported 8.9 million kg of wheat and meslin flour from India accounting for Nu 275.61M in 2021.