India’s second-largest wheat producer bans exports over food supply concerns

India, the second largest producer of wheat, has banned the export of the commodity due to a risk to food security.

A Friday government gazette report signed by Santosh Kumar Sarangi, the director general of foreign trade, said a “sudden spike” in the world price of wheat put India, neighboring and other vulnerable countries at risk.

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The export of wheat is permitted in the case of shipments for which an Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ICLC) has been issued on or before the date of the notification and “on the basis of permission granted by the Government of India to other countries to fulfill their obligations food security needs and at the request of their governments.”

A farmer carries wheat crop in India

FILE – A farmer carries wheat crop after harvest in Ganeshpur village, Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh state, India, Sunday, April 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh, File/AP Newsroom)

“The wheat export policy against the above HS Codes is ‘Prohibited’ with immediate effect, except for shipments that meet the conditions set forth in[paragraph2abovewhichwillbepermitted​​undertheproceduredescribedinSection105(b)oftheForeignTradePolicy2015-2020″theDirectorwrote[paragraph2abovelicofthepery105(whichbeallowedas2020procedure)”thedirectorroot[paragraaf2hierbovendiezullenwordentoegestaan​​volgensdeprocedurebeschreveninParagraaf105(b)vandeBuitenlandseHandelBeleid2015-2020″schreefdedirecteur[paragraph2abovewhichwillbeallowedaspertheprocedureoutlinedinPara105(b)oftheForeignTradePolicy2015-2020″thedirectorwrote

Although it is the second largest wheat producer in the world, India consumes most of the wheat it produces.

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The country had set a target of exporting 10 million tons from 2022 to 2023, much of which would have gone to other developing countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

India’s wheat crop has suffered from record heat and own stocks are under pressure from the distribution of free grain during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A worker seals sacks filled with wheat in India

FILE – A worker seals sacks filled with wheat in Gurdaspur, northern Indian state of Punjab, April 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Channi Anand, File/AP Newsroom)

Other countries are also grappling with poor harvests that are helping to offset shortages caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Before the invasion, Ukraine and Russia accounted for a third of global wheat and barley exports.

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Global wheat prices have risen more than 40% since the start of the year.

Earlier this month, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) lowered its projection of world wheat production in 2022 slightly to 782 million tons, from 784 million last month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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