India’s wheat export ban exacerbates crisis

IIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly sought to demonstrate the growing influence of the “new India” with a major humanitarian movement. After wheat shortages became apparent on world markets as a result of the Ukraine war, the head of government promised generous support. “At a time when the world is facing a wheat shortage, Indian farmers have started to feed the world,” Modi said at a meeting with Indians living in Germany in Berlin in early May. That sounded great at first: Bread for the World, “Made in India”. “India always finds a solution when humanity is in crisis,” Modi said to applause from the Indian public.

It seemed unrealistic at the time that India would take on this role. The subcontinent is the world’s second largest producer of wheat after China. This year, New Delhi expects record harvests and record exports. Indian farmers should benefit from rising prices. Trade delegations should be sent to Africa and Asia. But less than two weeks later, New Delhi is turning around. Instead of shipping wheat generously, the government largely banned private traders from exporting wheat. An extreme heat wave has caused large-scale crop failures in the granaries of the northern Indian subcontinent.

Ambrose Fernandez

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