By Jutta Wolf
BERLIN | NEW DELHI (IDN) — In the wake of Russia blocking Ukraine’s exports, on May 13 India decided to restrict wheat exports. Explaining the decision, the Government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) said the export curb will control food prices, and strengthen the food security of India and countries facing a deficit.
Speaking at a press conference with Mr Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary Department of Food and Consumer Affairs, and Mr Manoj Ahuja, Secretary Agriculture, the Commerce Secretary assured that India remains a reliable supplier as it is honouring all contracts.
He said that all export orders where the letter of credit has been issued would be fulfilled. He added that directing the wheat exports through government channels would not only ensure fulfilling the genuine needs of our neighbours and food-deficit countries but also control inflationary expectations.
Talking about the availability of wheat, Mr Subrahmanyam said, “Apart from the food security of India, the Government is committed to ensuring food security of neighbours and vulnerable countries”.
He said that the control order serves three main purposes: “It maintains the food security for the country, it helps others who are in distress, and maintains India’s reliability as a supplier.”
He said that in the government’s order on exports was giving a clear direction to the wheat market. “We do not want wheat to go in an unregulated manner in places where it might just get either hoarded or it may not serve the purpose of serving the food requirements of vulnerable nations. That’s why government to government window has been kept opened.”
Mr Pandey, Secretary Department of Food and Public Distribution said that the country has adequate food stocks. He added that after consulting with the states, the Centre has reallocated some quantities by changing ratios of wheat and rice.
For example, states getting wheat and rice in the ratio of 60:40 will get it in the ratio of 40:60. Similarly, the ratio of 75:25 is made 60:40. Where rice allocation was zero, they will continue to get wheat. For all small states-NE states and special category states, the allocation has not been changed.
“With this, we have boosted the availability of wheat to about 110-111 LMT more. Adding it to 185 LMT, it becomes 296 LMT which is almost as last year’s,” he added.
Agriculture ministers from the G7 industrialised nations have condemned India’s decision. “If everyone starts to impose export restrictions or to close markets, that would worsen the crisis,” German agriculture minister Cem Ozdemir said at a news conference in Stuttgart.
“We call on India to assume its responsibility as a G20 member,” Ozdemir said. [IDN-InDepthNews – 14 May 2022]
Photo: In January 2021, India’s wheat exports were worth $80 million, which reached $304 million in January 2022. India’s exports increased by a whopping 387 per cent in April-Jun 2022 YoY. Source: BusinessToday.in
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