1. Agriculture World

IMF Chief Urged India to Reconsider Wheat Export Ban as soon as Possible

India banned wheat exports earlier this month as a severe heat wave reduced output and domestic prices reached all-time highs. However, the country has stated that it will continue to allow exports to countries that request supplies "to meet their food security needs."

Shivam Dwivedi
Kristalina Georgieva, Head of International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Kristalina Georgieva, Head of International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Kristalina Georgieva, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), urged India on Tuesday to reconsider its ban on wheat exports, saying the country could play an important role in international food security and global stability.

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

When asked how much it would help if India lifted its ban, Georgieva responded, "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 a significant impact, especially if exports go to the countries most severely impacted like Egypt or Lebanon where we see not only risk of hunger but risk of social unrest and impact on global stability."

India banned wheat exports earlier this month as a severe heatwave reduced output and domestic prices reached all-time highs. However, the country has stated that it will continue to allow exports to countries that request supplies "to meet their food security needs."

The world's second-largest wheat producer is expected to harvest 106.41 million tonnes in 2022, nearly 4.4% less than the previous estimate, according to the agriculture ministry on Thursday.

After the government announced that it was aiming for record shipments this year, the export ban was a huge U-turn.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also had an impact on the international supply of wheat, as the two countries account for roughly 30% of global wheat exports.

Ukraine's exports have been severely hampered by the war's forced closure of its ports, while Russia's exports have been hampered by Western sanctions. Other export behemoths Canada and Australia have also reported output issues, adding to a situation that could push global prices to new highs, particularly for poor consumers in Asia and Africa.

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