Mumbai (The Times Groupe)- India has banned wheat exports that the world was counting on to ease supply constraints resulting from the Ukraine war, citing food shortages within the nation.
Indian exports of wheat will continue to be allowed to countries that require wheat for food security needs and upon request of their governments, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade announced in a notification dated May 13. A ban on all new shipments will take effect immediately.
Sudhanshu Pandey, the Indian food secretary said that the move was prompted by higher wheat prices in the local market, and that costs would likely fall in the wake of the ban.
At the same event, commerce secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam said the policy will allow some supplies to be diverted to the needy and vulnerable around the world.
India’s decision to halt wheat exports demonstrates its concerns about inflation, adding to a series of food protectionism since the war began.
According to The Hindu newspaper, India is a crucial supplier of wheat to its neighbours.
Bangladesh is another big importer of wheat, aside from Afghanistan, which recently received large amounts of wheat from India on humanitarian grounds.
During the financial year 2021-2022 (April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2002), India produced around 7 million tonnes of wheat, of which nearly half was imported by Bangladesh.
Business Times reported that Indian wheat made up 5.8 percent of Singapore’s total wheat flour imports in 2020.
In 2016, Singapore imported between 200,000 and 250,000 tons of wheat and 100,000 to 120,000 tons of wheat flour, according to UN Comtrade data. However, neither Russia nor Ukraine were involved. Singapore’s top three wheat suppliers are Australia, the United States, and Canada.