India open to exporting wheat to needy nations despite ban
NEW DELHI (AP) — India on Sunday said it would keep a window open to export wheat to food-deficit countries at the government level despite restrictions announced two days earlier.
India's Commerce Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam told reporters the government will also allow private companies to meet previous commitments to export nearly 4.3 million tons of wheat until July.
India exported one million tonnes of wheat in April.
India mainly exports wheat to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
A notice in the government gazette by the Directorate of Foreign Trade on Friday said a spike in global prices for wheat was threatening the food security of India and neighbouring and vulnerable countries.
A key aim of restrictions on exports is to control rising domestic prices. Global wheat prices have risen by more than 40% since the beginning of the year.
Before the war, Ukraine and Russia accounted for a third of global wheat and barley exports. Since Russia's February 24 invasion, Ukraine's ports have been blocked and civilian infrastructure and grain silos have been destroyed.
At the same time, India's own wheat harvest has suffered from a record-shattering heat wave that is stunting production.
He said India's wheat production this year has come down by three million tons from 106 million tons last year. Wheat prices have shot up by 20-40% in India.
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