India has imposed a ban on the export of wheat with immediate effect, the Ministry of Trade said in a statement in a statement late on Friday night. In its notification dated 13 May, the Directorate-General for Foreign Trade (DGDT) stated that the ban on wheat exports was introduced due to a sudden increase in the price of cereals on the global market, and was exercised as part of measures to control rising domestic prices. In the order, the government also said that the wheat export ban was put in place to ensure overall food safety.
However, wheat export shipments for which irrevocable letters of credit (LoC) have been issued on or before the date of this notice will be allowed, DGFT said in its notification. “Exports will also be allowed on the basis of permits from the Government of India to other countries to meet their food supply needs and at the request of their governments.”
“There is a sudden increase in global wheat prices due to many factors, as a result of which food supplies in India, neighboring countries and other vulnerable countries are at risk,” the DGFT said in the statement. “The Government of India is committed to ensuring the food security requirements of India, neighboring countries and other vulnerable developing countries that are adversely affected by the sudden changes in the global wheat market and are unable to access adequate wheat stocks,” the order said.
The statement from the DGFT, which works under the Ministry of Commerce, also said that in order to address the overall food supply in the country and to support the needs of neighboring and other vulnerable countries, the government took action to ban wheat exports from India.
The order was issued a day after India said it would send trade delegations to nine countries, including Morocco, Tunisia and Indonesia, to explore the possibility of increasing wheat supplies, as they aim to export 10 million tonnes of grain by 2022-2023.
On Friday, however, it was reported that India’s wheat exports may see a slowdown amid rising concerns over the decline in its inventory with Food Corporation of India due to aggressive purchases from private players and an overall production shortage. As a result, atta prices have soared to the highest levels in April this year since January 2010, prompting a group of ministers led by Interior Minister Amit Shah to address the issue.
Atta prices have risen in the midst of a decline in wheat production and stocks in the country, with prices soaring to around Rs 2,400 per 100 kg. This is well above the guaranteed minimum support price of the center and is a rare incident. The measure was taken to ensure that ordinary people do not bear the burden of rising inflation in the midst of continuing geopolitical tensions.
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