India Restricts Export Of Wheat

Story Highlights
  • The move to ban wheat exports comes after huge crop loss due to a heatwave in March.
  • Government will allow exports on requests from other countries.
  • India cut its wheat output forecast to 105 million tones.

New Delhi: Citing the threat to food security, the Government has “prohibited” export of wheat. The decision was taken on Friday, in view of the “sudden spike in the global prices of wheat arising out of many factors”, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has informed. Significantly, the order came two days after the Government had decided to send trade delegations to a number of countries to explore possibilities of export of wheat.

The global agriculture market has been destabilized by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a major wheat-producing nation that is a big supplier to the European market. Apart from national requirements, the order also cites the priorities of the South Asian neighbourhood in dealing with the spike in global wheat prices. India is a crucial supplier of wheat to its neighbours.

Apart from Afghanistan which recently received large consignments of wheat from India on humanitarian grounds, Bangladesh is another big importer of Indian wheat. India produced around 7 million tonnes of wheat during 2021-’22 and out of that nearly 50% was imported by Bangladesh. The emphasis on the “neighbourhood” in the official notification shows that India is aware that a shortage of wheat in the domestic market can create hit the neighbouring economies.

The Ministry’s order however stated that export of wheat will be allowed “in case of shipments where Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ICLC) has been issued on or before the date of this Notification”. Export will also be allowed on a Government to Government (G2G) basis only after securing the necessary permissions. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry also placed the export of onion seeds under the “prohibited” category. Both the orders regarding wheat and onion seeds have come into effect immediately.

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