When India, the second largest wheat producer in the world, decided to stop wheat exports, following a rise in prices in the country, coupled with falling food stock levels, the world reacted with shock. The war in Ukraine has meant that Europe’s wheat supply, which used to be mainly available from Ukraine, has stopped. Prices across Europe and around the world have shot up and things are getting ugly. India has taken this decision to benefit its own citizens, but requests are coming in to review this policy.
Recently, US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said during a press briefing: “We have seen the report of India’s decision. We’re encouraging countries not to restrict exports because we think any restrictions on exports will exacerbate the food shortages. We hope they hear the concerns being raised by other countries, that they would reconsider that position.”
Amid the massive heat wave this summer, affecting wheat production, India’s condition is not too good either. If India, like Europe and the US, decides to look after its own people first, then there remains cause for worry for the world.
India’s wheat exports were at an all-time high of 7 million tonnes, worth $ 2.05 billion, in 2021-22 fiscal year on better demand of Indian wheat from overseas. Of the total wheat exports, around 50 per cent of shipments were exported to Bangladesh in the last fiscal.
The decision would help control retail prices of wheat and wheat flour, which have risen by an average 14-20 per cent in the last one year, besides meeting the foodgrain requirement of neighbouring and vulnerable countries.
We wait to see what happens.