The International Monetary Fund (IMF) welcomed India’s recent decision to relax its ban on wheat exports and allow some shipments to proceed. A senior IMF official observed that around 30 countries have curtailed exports of commodity goods including food and fuel since the war in Ukraine began Last month, India announced that it was banning wheat exports in a bid to check high prices.
This decision was made amid concerns of the country’s wheat output being affected by a scorching heat wave. The price of wheat has jumped in the international markets because of the ban and due to the reduced production in Ukraine following the war, according to the UN food agency.
“We are very concerned by the use of food and fertiliser export restrictions, which can exacerbate global price increases and market volatility. So, this goes beyond India,” IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice told reporters at a news conference here on Thursday. We hope to see further relaxation of bans, and again, not just by India, but also by all countries who have imposed them,” Rice added.
“Our monitoring indicates that some 30 countries, in fact, have curtailed exports of commodity goods, including food and fuel, and that since the war in Ukraine began. So, we are very concerned about this. (IMF Managing Director) Kristalina Georgieva has been very vocal on this. (First Deputy Managing Director) Gita Gopinath spoke about it again, yesterday,” he said responding to a question on India. The Indian government later eased the wheat export ban by allowing the consignments already with customs on or before May 13 to go through.
Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan told the Ministerial Meeting on ‘Global Food Security Call to Action’ chaired by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken under the US Presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of May that India is “committed to ensuring that such adverse impact on food security is effectively mitigated and the vulnerable cushioned against sudden changes in the global market.
India is the second largest wheat producer in the world, and for the 2022-23 crop season it was expected to be one of the top 10 wheat exporters, predicted to sell 10m tonnes abroad.