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US Hopes India Will Drop Restrictions on Wheat Exports

US Hopes India Will Drop Restrictions on Wheat Exports

BY ARUL LOUIS

NEW YORK, NY – Washington hopes that India will drop its restrictions on wheat exports after hearing at the United Nations Security Council from other countries about the looming food crisis, according to Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US Permanent Representative to the UN.

“India will be one of the countries participating in our meeting at the Security Council, and we hope that they can, as they hear the concerns being raised by other countries, they would reconsider that position,” the Cabinet official said on May 17 previewing the US initiatives on food security in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Answering a reporter’s question about India restricting some wheat exports, she added, “We’re encouraging countries not to restrict exports because we think any restrictions on exports will exacerbate the food shortages.”

Russia and Ukraine accounted for nearly 30 percent of the global wheat exports and the war has disrupted the supplies putting many countries at risk.

India, which is the world’s second-largest wheat grower and has a big stockpile, ordered an end to most purely commercial wheat transactions while leaving room for some exports to neighbor countries and governments of countries in need.

India’s revised policy on May 13 said the exports were banned “in order to manage the overall food security of the country and support the needs of the neighboring and other vulnerable countries”.

New Delhi did not want an unregulated export of wheat that could lead to it getting “hoarded and is not used for the purpose which we are hoping it will be used for — which is serving the food requirements of vulnerable nations and vulnerable people”.

The main factor behind the reversal of Indian policy on wheat exports is the extreme heatwave that swept through some of the wheat-producing areas creating fears that the output could fall by as much as 5 percent.

The US, which is the Security Council’s President for May, has urged for ‘Days of Action for Food Security’.

During those programs, the US will be “identifying those countries who are willing and able to open up their own silos to fill that gap,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

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