G7 nations criticized India’s decision to stop wheat exports without permission. India says that its ‘food security’ is a concern.
Agriculture ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations criticized India’s decision to stop wheat exports without permission after the country was hit by a harsh heatwave on Saturday.
‘If everyone starts to limit exports or close markets, it will make the crisis worse,’ said Cem Ozdemir, the German agriculture minister, at a press conference in Stuttgart.
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After recent hot weather hurt wheat production, India banned wheat exports without first getting permission from the government. This is bad news for countries that are short on supplies because of the war in Ukraine.
India, which is the second-largest wheat producer in the world, said that it was worried about its own ‘food security’ because of things like less wheat production and sharply higher prices around the world because of the war.
All export deals made before Friday’s order could still be kept, but all future shipments had to be approved by the government. But exports could also happen if other governments asked New Delhi to do so ‘to meet their food security needs.’
The decision came at a time when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was putting a lot of pressure on agricultural markets around the world.
Shipments have been stopped in the traditional breadbasket, so the Ukrainian agriculture minister went to Stuttgart to talk with G7 colleagues about how to get the country’s goods out.
Mr. Ozdemir said that there were ’20 million tonnes’ of wheat in silos in Ukraine that needed to be shipped out ‘immediately.’
Before the invasion, Ukraine’s ports sent out 4.5 million tonnes of farm products every month. This was 12 percent of the world’s wheat, 15 percent of its corn, and 50 percent of its sunflower oil.
But Russian warships have cut off the ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk, and other cities from the rest of the world. This means that supplies can only go through crowded, less efficient land routes.
At this important time, ministers from the G7 industrialized nations asked countries all over the world not to do anything that would hurt the produce markets.
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Mr. Ozdemir, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the group, said that they ‘spoke out against export bans and called for markets to stay open.’
‘We want India to do what it needs to do as a member of the G20,’ Mr. Ozdemir said. The agriculture ministers would also ‘suggest’ that the topic be discussed at the G7 summit in Germany in June, which India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to attend.