India bans wheat exports with immediate effect

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Barely weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about ‘India feeding the world with its grains,’ the government has banned all types of wheat exports with immediate effect to salvage its falling inventories and stocks.

“There is a sudden spike in the global prices of wheat arising out of many factors as a result of which the food security of India, neighboring and other vulnerable countries is at risk,” an official notification banning exports said, India media reported.

Global buyers were banking on India for wheat supplies after exports from the Black Sea region plunged since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

Wheat export will also be permitted on the basis of permission granted by the central government to other countries to meet their food security needs and based on request of their governments.

The central government has put wheat export under the “prohibited” category in an effort to manage overall food security of the country and to need the support of the neighbouring and vulnerable countries, according to a report in Business Toady.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), in an official notification issued on Friday evening, stated that as a transitional arrangement wheat export will be allowed in case of shipments where the irrevocable letter of credit (ILOC) has been issued on or before May 13.

It added that export will also be permitted on the basis of permission granted by the Central Government to other countries to meet their food security needs and based on request of their governments.

“The Government of India is committed to providing for the food security requirements of India, neighbouring and other vulnerable developing countries which are adversely affected by the sudden changes in the global market for wheat and are unable to access adequate wheat supplies,” read the notification.

Meanwhile, India will send trade delegations to nine countries including Morocco, Tunisia, and Indonesia to explore possibilities of boosting wheat shipments as it targets to export 10 million tonnes of the grain in 2022-23.

The commerce ministry has set up a task force on wheat exports with representatives from various ministries, including commerce, shipping and railways, and exporters under the aegis of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), it said on Thursday.

There is a rise in the demand for Indian wheat in the global markets and farmers, traders and exporters have been advised to follow all the quality norms of the importing countries so that India emerges as a reliable supplier of the grain.

According to estimates by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, India exported 7 million tonnes (MT) of wheat in 2021-22 which is valued at USD 2.05 billion.

Out of the total shipment, around 50 per cent of wheat was exported to Bangladesh in the last fiscal.

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