G7 criticises India’s determination to cease wheat exports


A combine deposit harvested wheat in a tractor-trolley at a field on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, March 16, 2022. — Reuters/File
A mix deposit harvested wheat in a tractor-trolley at a area on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, March 16, 2022. — Reuters/File

STUTTGART, GERMANY: Agriculture ministers from the Group of Seven industrialised nations on Saturday condemned India’s determination to ban unapproved wheat exports after the nation was hit by a punishing heatwave.

“If everybody begins to impose export restrictions or shut markets, that will worsen the disaster,” German agriculture minister Cem Ozdemir mentioned at a press convention in Stuttgart.

India on Saturday banned wheat exports with out prior authorities approval after latest scorching temperatures hit manufacturing, in a blow to nations affected by provide shortages due to the warfare in Ukraine.

India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, mentioned that components together with decrease wheat manufacturing and sharply increased international costs due to the warfare meant that it was now nervous about its personal “meals safety”.

All export offers agreed earlier than the directive issued on Friday might nonetheless be honoured, however all future shipments wanted to have authorities approval.

Nevertheless, exports might additionally happen if New Delhi accredited a request by different governments “to fulfill their meals safety wants.”

The choice got here as international agricultural markets had been underneath extreme stress resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The standard breadbasket has seen shipments disrupted, with the Ukrainian agriculture minister travelling to Stuttgart for discussions with G7 colleagues on getting its product out.

Some “20 million tonnes” of wheat had been sitting in Ukrainian silos and “urgently” wanted to be exported, Ozdemir mentioned.

Earlier than the invasion, Ukraine exported 4.5 million tonnes of agricultural produce monthly via its ports — 12% of the planet’s wheat, 15% of its corn and half of its sunflower oil.

However with the ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and others lower off from the world by Russian warships, the provision can solely journey on congested land routes which might be a lot much less environment friendly.

At this vital juncture, ministers of the G7 industrialised nations urged nations around the globe to not take restrictive motion that might pile additional stress on the produce markets.

They “spoke out towards export stops and name as properly for markets to be saved open”, mentioned Ozdemir, whose nation holds the rotating presidency of the group.

“We name on India to imagine its accountability as a G20 member,” Ozdemir added.

The agriculture ministers would additionally “suggest” the subject be addressed on the G7 summit in Germany in June, which India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to attend.

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