Agriculture ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations on Saturday condemned India’s decision to ban unapproved wheat exports after the country was hit by a scorching heat wave.
“If everyone starts imposing export restrictions or closing markets, it would exacerbate the crisis,” German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir said at a press conference in Stuttgart.
India on Saturday banned wheat exports without government approval after recent scorching temperatures hit production, in a blow to countries facing supply shortages due to the war in Ukraine.
India, the world’s second largest wheat producer, said it was now concerned about its own “food security” such as lower wheat production and sharply higher world prices due to the war.
All export agreements made before the directive issued Friday could still be fulfilled, but all future shipments had to be approved by the government.
However, exports could also take place if New Delhi approves a request from other governments “to meet their food security needs”.
The decision came as global agricultural markets came under severe strain as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The traditional bread basket has disrupted shipments, with Ukraine’s agriculture minister traveling to Stuttgart for talks with G7 colleagues about how to drop off his products.
About “20 million tons” of wheat were in Ukrainian silos and needed to be exported “urgently”, Ozdemir said.
Before the invasion, Ukraine was exporting 4.5 million tons of agricultural products every month through its ports — 12 percent of the world’s wheat, 15 percent of its corn and half of its sunflower oil.
But with the ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and others cut off from the world by Russian warships, supplies can only travel on congested land routes that are far less efficient.
At this critical juncture, the G7 industrialized country ministers have urged countries around the world not to adopt restrictive measures that could put further pressure on product markets.
“They spoke out against export freezes and also call for markets to be kept open,” said Ozdemir, whose country holds the group’s rotating presidency.
“We call on India to assume its responsibility as a G20 member,” Ozdemir added.
Agriculture ministers would also “recommend” raising the issue at the G7 summit in Germany in June, to which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)