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India Bans Wheat Exports Just Two Days After Declaring a Massive Trade Target

According to a notification, the government has decided to ban the export of wheat to manage the country's overall food security.

Kritika Madhukar
The decision to limit wheat exports comes after a massive crop loss in March
The decision to limit wheat exports comes after a massive crop loss in March

India has suspended wheat shipments with immediate effect as part of its efforts to contain rising domestic prices. The ministry stated that only export shipments for which letters of credit were issued on or before yesterday's notification would be permitted.

Furthermore, according to the notification published by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), the government will allow exports on demand from other countries.

According to the notification, the government made the decision to manage the country's overall food security and to meet the requirements of neighbouring and other vulnerable countries.

After shipments from the Black Sea region fell since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February, global customers were counting on India, the world's second-largest wheat producer after China, for supply.

The decision to limit wheat exports comes after a massive crop loss in March due to a heatwave. Inflation, which reached 7.79 percent in April, is also putting pressure on the government.

Furthermore, the action comes just two days after the administration unveiled plans for a major export push.

A senior official from India's Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution told Reuters earlier this month that the country has no plans to restrict wheat exports.

"There are no plans to restrict wheat exports since the government has ample wheat inventories," Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey stated at the time.

During a recent visit to Germany, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Indian diaspora at an event that Indian farmers "have stood forward to feed the world" amid an ongoing wheat scarcity. "Whenever humanity faces a crisis, India finds a solution," he explained.

Reason for the Sudden Shift 

When asked why the abrupt shift in strategy, official sources stated China is importing food grains from India due to crop losses that have caused food insecurity there.

After five years of record harvests, India has lowered its wheat output prediction to 105 million tonnes from 111.3 tonnes in February after the heat reduced crop yields.

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