World Economic Forum | National

In Davos, Piyush Goyal defends India’s wheat export ban

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal takes part at the panel discussion “Trade: Now what?” during the World Economic Forum 2022 (WEF) in the Alpine resort of Davos, Switzerland on May 25, 2022.

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal takes part at the panel discussion “Trade: Now what?” during the World Economic Forum 2022 (WEF) in the Alpine resort of Davos, Switzerland on May 25, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

A large number of European countries have imposed regulatory measures for ensuring food security, said Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr. Goyal defended the May 13 decision to prohibit wheat export and said the move was aimed at ensuring price stability and to help vulnerable countries and communities.

"Today, 22 countries of Europe have regulations on exports to protect their food security. Different countries in different points in time had to take extraordinary measures in public interest," said Mr. Goyal in defence of India's prohibition on wheat exports.

Answering questions in an interactive session, the Minister said there was a lot of misinformation going around about India's decision and said he had clarified the matter with the top representatives of the WTO and the IMF

"India traditionally has not been an exporter of grain. Our farmers toiled and ushered in green revolution," he said, arguing that India's production of wheat had been primarily for the consumption of its own population. This year, a heatwave that "shrivelled" wheat crop coincided with the war in Ukraine which sent shockwaves through the global wheat market as Ukraine was a major supplier of wheat in the world market.

Sudden increase

Mr. Goyal said that in the first quarter, the government observed a spurt in wheat exports. "In 40 days, there was two million tonnes of wheat exports." This sudden increase in exports created concern over domestic price stability and supply that prompted the government to take the "regulatory" measure.

Watch | Is India facing a wheat crisis?

The Minister said a bulk of the seven million tonnes of wheat that India exported last year went to Bangladesh but this time the government noticed that the wheat was headed to trading centres in the international market where they probably would have ended up creating market volatility. He claimed that the government's agriculture and public distribution policy had ensured "not a single starvation death during COVID period".


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Printable version | May 26, 2022 7:42:53 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/in-davos-piyush-goyal-defends-indias-wheat-export-ban/article65461193.ece