Weather of Arabia - India announced on Saturday a ban on wheat exports to counteract the decline in its production due to severe heat waves, in a decision that "would exacerbate the crisis" of grain supplies in conjunction with the war in Ukraine, as the Group of Seven warned.
India, the second wheat-producing country in the world, decided to ban the export of this commodity without special permission from the government to ensure "food security" for its 1.4 billion people.
Export contracts concluded before the decree was issued will be implemented, as this procedure relates to future exports. And there will be no exports in the future except with a special permission from New Delhi, which will decide in each individual case to approve requests from other countries to "meet their needs".
The New York Times published a report in which it spoke of the new global concern about India's ban on wheat exports.
The report said that India is banning its exports of this commodity at a time when the rise in food prices is worrying policy makers, after the country was filling the supply gap in international markets left by Russia's war on Ukraine, which led to the Russian military attack on Ukraine that began on February 24. / February, to seriously affect agricultural activity in the countryside of this country, which before the invasion was the fourth largest global exporter of corn and would have become the third largest exporter of wheat.
It is likely that India's move will cause food prices to rise, and feed hunger in poor countries that depend on imports of this commodity.
According to the American newspaper, wheat prices have reached staggering levels due to supply concerns arising from the Ukraine war.
Until Saturday, India had expressed its willingness to help global markets in the event of supply problems.
"Our farmers have taken care not only of India but of the whole world," Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said last month.
India had indicated its desire to increase its annual wheat exports as of April 1 from 7 to 10 million tons, relieving pressure on the sector.
New Delhi also announced Thursday that delegations would go to several North African countries, Turkey, Vietnam, Thailand and Lebanon, "to study ways to boost wheat exports from India." It was not clear Saturday whether the program of visits would remain.
New Delhi's announcement comes at a time when India has been facing severe heat waves for two months. Last March was the hottest in the country's history, and the heat wave has continued in recent weeks, with temperatures sometimes exceeding 45 degrees.
Climate change experts expected that India will be exposed to these heat waves more and more.
Earlier this month, the government indicated that for the first time in six years, these climatic conditions would lead to a wheat crop decline of at least 5% compared to 2021. About 110 million tons were harvested last year.
"Although India is not one of the world's major wheat exporters, the ban may raise global prices to new record levels and affect poor consumers in Asia and Africa," a Reuters report says.
This framework also raises fears of protectionist measures being taken by exporting countries, such as Indonesia, the world's first palm oil producer, which at the end of April banned its export to contain price hikes in the domestic market and shortages.
According to the New York Times report, the Russian-Ukrainian war unleashed a new wave of protectionism as governments, striving to secure food and other goods for their citizens amid shortages and rising prices, erected new barriers to stop exports at their borders.
Ukraine has limited exports of sunflower oil, wheat, oats and livestock in an effort to protect its war-torn economy. Russia, for its part, banned sales of fertilizers, sugar and grains to other countries.
Turkey, in turn, stopped the export of butter, beef, lamb, goat, corn and vegetable oils.
These measures are often well-intentioned, but like the panicked buying that stripped grocery shelves at various moments in the pandemic, the current wave of protectionism will only exacerbate the problems governments are trying to mitigate, trade experts warn.
He pointed out that the restrictions imposed on exports will raise the prices of grains, oils, meat and fertilizers to record numbers, and will even make them difficult to obtain.
This places an even greater burden on the world's poor, who pay a greater share of their income for food, raising the risk of social unrest in poor countries struggling with food insecurity, the report says.
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