New Delhi has previously claimed that it could “feed the world” in the wake of the Ukraine conflict.
On Friday, the country’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced that India would immediately ban all exports of wheat.
For this reason, strict action is urgent, the ministry said “The sudden rise in global wheat prices for a number of reasons has resulted in food security risks to India, its neighbors and other vulnerable countries.”
Conflicts between Russia and Ukraine have pushed the world to the brink of a major food crisis as the two countries are major suppliers to international markets, accounting for about 30% of global wheat exports.
World food prices have risen by a third, with the United Nations warning that about 44 million people are starving.
It was hoped that India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, could help meet the global deficit as the country projected a record crop of 111.3 million tonnes (mt) in 2021-22, with exports ranging from 10mt to 15mt. In April, the country announced that its granary was full and ready “Feed the world.”
However, sudden heatwaves in the spring delayed those plans, with high temperatures causing premature ripening and shrinkage of crops in many parts of the country. As a result, Indian farmers are reported to have harvested 15% to 20% less than last year.
According to local media, the Indian government has now revised its estimate for wheat production to 95 million tonnes, its lowest level since 2015-16.
Despite the ban, India will allow shipments of wheat for credit letters issued before May 13, the ministry said.
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Any other export will require special permission from the Government of India, which may be granted to countries in need of wheat. “To meet their food security needs,” It has been added.