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Weeks after ban, India exported wheat worth $ 473 million in April

By Shefali Kohli -- May 26, 2022 12:24 pm -- Updated:May 26, 2022 12:24 pm

New Delhi [India], May 26: Weeks after the Central government banned wheat exports to control price rise, the Centre on May 25 announced that India exported wheat worth USD 177 million in March and USD 473 million in April this year.

The government data highlighted that while India's expected production of wheat for 2022-23 remains at near 105 million metric tonnes (MMT), it needs to fulfil domestic consumption requirements for its 130 crore population (30 MMT required for food security schemes such as National Food Security Act (NFSA), Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMJKAY) and other welfare schemes for near 80 crores poor and vulnerable population) while also providing humanitarian assistance to neighbouring countries and other vulnerable nations.

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"Among the wheat exporting countries, India ranked 19th in 2020, 35th in 2019, 36th in 2018, 36th in 2017, 37th in 2016, which shows that India has an insignificant share (0.47 per cent) while seven countries (Russia, the USA, Canada, France, Ukraine, Australia, Argentina) have the largest share in the overall quantity of wheat export in the past five years. A negotiation-based approach instead of conflict would have prevented removal of nearly a quarter of wheat exports from Russia and Ukraine," the data read.

The statement further read, "Still, after the conflict began on February 24, 2022, India has exported wheat worth USD 177 million and USD 473 million in March 2022 and April 2022 respectively despite facing challenges of low wheat production as a result of an extreme heat wave that enveloped the northern part of the country that caused shrivelled grains and resulted in drop in yield per acre."

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The government mentioned that the export restrictions have been a regular feature of major food producers which has adversely affected India too. On the other hand, India has taken the step towards the regulation of wheat exports in order to ensure food security of India, its neighbours and vulnerable countries.

A number of other food products have been restricted for exports. These include vegetable oil restrictions by Indonesia (palm oil), Argentina, Kazakhstan, Cameroon, Kuwait etc.

Indonesia's decision to ban palm oil exports despite the country accounting for around a third of all vegetable oil exports (Palm oil comprises near 60 per cent of global vegetable oil shipments), had a major impact on countries (such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, India) who were dependent heavily on Indonesia to meet their domestic requirements. These have resulted in a significant price rise and India has been at the receiving end of these.

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Further, the 180 LMT procurement in RMS 2022-23 has been also due to the relaxation in Fair Average Quality (FAQ) norms of shrivelled grains of wheat (from 6 per cent to 18 per cent) by the Central Government. This has facilitated the farmer to sell the produce at MSP to the government which was otherwise selling in an open market at a lesser price, thus safeguarding the financial security of farmers.

-PTC News

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