IMF chief 'begs' India to reconsider wheat export ban, even as India assures that wheat will be sent those 'most in need'

Indian authorities have explained that the wheat export ban has been undertaken to ensure domestic food availability and minimize food price-related inflation while supporting the legitimate requirements of India's neighbours and other nations in need.

May 25, 2022
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International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva on Tuesday implored India to reconsider its ban on wheat exports, saying the country could play a key role in international food security and global stability, even though India has clarified that the 'ban' on wheat exports will not affect contracted shipments, including to countries like Bangladesh and Egypt, or to countries in need.


"I do have an appreciation for the fact that India needs to feed nearly 1.35 billion people and I do have appreciation for the heatwave that has reduced agricultural productivity, but I would beg India to reconsider as soon as possible because the more countries step into export restrictions, the more others would be tempted to do so and we would end up as a global community less equipped to deal with the crisis," Georgieva told NDTV at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Asked how much it would help if India lifted its ban, Georgieva said, "Wheat is one of the areas where Ukraine and Russia have been dramatically impacted by the war so depending on how much India can export and where it directs its exports, it could have significant impact especially if exports go to the countries most severely impacted like Egypt or Lebanon where what we see is not only risk of hunger but risk of social unrest and impact on global stability."

India put restrictions on wheat exports earlier this month as an intense heatwave hit output and domestic prices hit a record high. It, however, has said it will still allow exports to countries that request supplies "to meet their food security needs". The world's second-biggest wheat producer is likely to harvest 106.41 million tonnes in 2022, nearly 4.4 per cent lower than the previous estimate, India's agriculture ministry said on Thursday.

Indian authorities have explained that the wheat export ban has been undertaken to ensure domestic food availability and minimize food price-related inflation while supporting the legitimate requirements of India's neighbours and other nations in need.

Let me make it clear that these measures allow for export on the basis of approvals to those countries who are required to meet their food security demands”, India's Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said on Wednesday as he explained India’s food export policy at the Ministerial Meeting on Global Food Security Call to Action convened by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the United Nations.

He said, “This will be done on the request from the concerned governments. Such a policy will ensure that we will truly respond to those who are most in need”. 

(SAM)

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