G7 ministers condemn India’s decision to ban wheat exports amid Ukraine crisis

New Delhi: Agriculture ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations on Friday (May 13th) condemned India’s decision to ban unapproved wheat exports after the country was hit by a punishing heatwave.

“If everyone starts imposing export restrictions or closing markets, it would make the crisis worse,” German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir told AFP at a press conference. in Stuttgart.

“We call on India to assume its responsibility as a member of the G20”, AFP reported Ozdemir as saying.

India on Friday announced a ban on wheat exports with immediate effect as part of measures to control rising domestic prices, Thread reported. However, it allowed shipments of wheat accompanied by valid irrevocable letters of credit issued on or before the date of the notification.

Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said the government’s decision to ban the export of wheat is expected to lower domestic prices within about a week. He added that the likely decline in wheat production in India and even government purchases is unlikely to affect the public distribution system.

The export ban comes amid disruptions to global wheat supplies due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, which are major foodgrain exporters. Meanwhile, retail price inflation in India hit its highest level in eight years in April due to high fuel and food prices.

Ozdemir told AFP that some “20 million tonnes” of wheat were in Ukrainian silos and needed to be exported “urgently”.

According to the news agency, Ukraine exported 4.5 million tons of agricultural products per month through its ports – 12% of the world’s wheat, 15% of its corn and half of its sunflower oil – before Russia invade Ukraine. But with the ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and others cut off from the world by Russian warships, supplies can only flow through congested and far less efficient land routes.

At such a critical time, G7 ministers urged countries around the world not to take restrictive measures that could add pressure to agricultural commodity markets, according to the report.

Christi C. Elwood