India bans wheat exports due to rising global prices

New Delhi, May 14 (EFE) .- India banned wheat exports from this Saturday due to the sudden increase in the prices of this cereal, mainly motivated by the conflict in Ukraine, and which puts the food security of the Asian country at risk. , although it will allow those shipments that have already been charged.

«The wheat export policy is prohibited with immediate effect,» except for shipments «for which an irrevocable letter of credit has been issued» before notification, the General Directorate of Foreign Trade reported last night in a statement.

In addition, he specified that the Indian government may issue a special permit to export wheat to countries that are at risk of suffering from food shortages, and thus meet their needs.

The text stated that the measure was adopted «considering that the Government of India is committed to the food safety requirements of India, neighboring countries and other vulnerable developing countries that are negatively affected by sudden changes in the world food market. wheat and cannot access sufficient supplies of wheat.

This announcement comes after this Thursday, the Ministry of Commerce set a goal for this fiscal year to reach 10 million tons of wheat exports.

In the last fiscal year 2021-2022, India broke its record for wheat exports, reaching 7 million tons of this cereal, worth more than 2,000 million dollars, according to the General Directorate of Foreign Trade.

The ban on wheat exports contradicts claims made last April by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he said India could feed the rest of the world if the World Trade Organization gave it permission to do so.

India is the second largest producer of wheat, harvesting around 107 million tons annually, which represents 13.5% of world production, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.

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However, most of that harvest is destined for domestic consumption.

The price of wheat has skyrocketed since the beginning of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, since both countries represent around 30% of global exports of this cereal.

The increase in the cost of wheat, added to that of other foods and oil increased inflation in India to 7.79% in April, its highest level since May 2014.

In addition, India has been affected in recent weeks by several severe heat waves, reaching up to 47 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country, which devastated its wheat fields and reduced its crop yields.

(c) EFE Agency