India exported wheat worth $177 mn in March, $473 mn in April

Image used for representational purpose. File

Image used for representational purpose. File | Photo Credit: PTI

India has exported wheat worth $177 million in March and $473 million in April even after the Russia-Ukraine conflict started in late February to help other countries overcome food crisis, sources said.

According to them, India exported wheat even at a time when about eight nations, including Ukraine, Belarus, Turkey, Egypt, Kazakhstan and Kuwait, had imposed wheat export restrictions.

"Still, after the conflict began on February 24, 2022, India has exported wheat worth $177 million and $473 million in March and April, respectively, despite facing challenges of low wheat production as a result of extreme heat wave that enveloped the northern part of the country that caused shrivelled grains and resultant drop in yield per acre," one of the sources said.

With the retail prices of wheat and wheat flour rising by 14-20% in the last one year, the government, on May 13, banned wheat exports to control rising domestic prices and ensure food security of India, neighbouring nations and vulnerable countries.

The G7 nations had criticised the Indian government's decision to restrict the exports.

According to the DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) notification, wheat exports are allowed on the basis of permission granted by the Government of India to other countries to meet their food-security needs and based on the request of their governments.

Among the wheat exporting countries, India ranked 19th in 2020, 35th in 2019, 36th in 2018 and 2017, which shows that it has an insignificant share (0.47%) while seven countries (Russia, the U.S., Canada, France, Ukraine, Australia and Argentina) have the largest share in the overall quantity of wheat exports in the past five years, sources said.

"A negotiation-based approach instead of conflict would have prevented removal of nearly a quarter of wheat exports from Russia and Ukraine," the source said, adding "export restrictions have been a regular feature of major food producers which has adversely affected India too".

Egypt and Turkey have also been importing significant quantity of wheat from India and have no locus standi for asking for open exports after having restricted them.

Besides wheat, a number of other food products have been restricted for exports and these include curbs on exporting vegetable oil by Argentina, Kazakhstan, Cameroon, and Kuwait.

"These have resulted in significant price rise and India has been at the receiving end," the source said.

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 1:51:17 am |