AWB has rejected claims that wheat shipments to Pakistan have not met quality specifications, particularly that they are contaminated with the Karnal Bunt fungus.
AWB Pool Manager David Johnson said the Government of Pakistan called an international tender for the supply of 150,000 tonnes of wheat via the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation in December. The tender was awarded to Tradesman International (a Pakistan trading company), which in turn contracted to secure the wheat from AWB.
“AWB has since been advised that the first two cargoes have been rejected for a number of reasons, including the alleged presence of Karnal Bunt,” Mr Johnson said.
“AWB sold and shipped the Australian wheat to Tradesman International which exceeded all contractual quality parameters. This has been confirmed by an independent, internationally-recognised supervision company, Intertek Caleb Brett, who also tested the cargoes.
“The wheat was also loaded under supervision of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, and met all required specifications,” Mr Johnson said.
AWB has also received confirmation from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry that Karnal Bunt is not known to occur in Australia.
“We will work with the relevant stakeholders, including the customer, Pakistan officials and the relevant Australian Government departments, to ensure this issue is resolved quickly,” Mr Johnson said.
“AWB senior management and representatives from Biosecurity Australia are traveling to Pakistan to assist in resolving this issue.
“AWB National Pool has been fully paid for the two cargoes in question.
“AWB prides itself on supplying high quality, clean, dry Australian wheat to the highest possible specification.
“We have a long history of supplying wheat to Pakistan, being a regular supplier from 1949 until 2000, supplying in excess of one million tonnes per annum for the last four years of that period. Pakistan ceased importing in 2001 due to large domestic production, and until recently has been a net exporter of wheat.
“AWB is surprised and concerned at the current claims being made regarding these shipments,” Mr Johnson said.