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Last updated: 24 May, 2022  

Wheat.9.Thmb.jpg Wheat exports ban

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Bikky Khosla | 23 May, 2022

The Central government recently placed a ban on wheat exports with immediate effect. On support of the move, it said the decision was taken in the background of less than estimated domestic wheat production and an excessive global price hike, driven by Russia-Ukraine war. Exports would be allowed only in case of shipments where irrevocable LoC has been issued on or before May 13, an official notification stated.

The Centre has recently revised down its estimates for wheat production by 5.4% to 1,050 LMT from the earlier estimate of 1,113 LMT. Wheat production has been hit by massive heat waves in March and April, and a global rating agency has even cautioned that reduced wheat production is credit negative for India. According to the Centre, in the face of the huge demand, farmers has been selling their produce directly to private traders who, in turn, are sending it to exporters.

While, the government has defended its decision of wheat exports ban saying the ban will help it manage food security, according to some observers, the move was taken keeping in mind the upcoming Gujarat poll so that high food prices do not affect voters. Also, some farmers are aghast at the government's decision, who point out to sharp fall in wheat prices from Rs 2,300 per 100 kilograms to Rs 2,015 -- the government-set MSP.

The interest of our farmers needs to be protected, but at the same time it is difficult to look down upon the fact that more and more countries are putting export controls due to rise in food prices around the world due to the war, extreme weather and inflation – such as Indonesia's ban on palm oil exports and China's prohibition on fertiliser exports. At this moment, it seems it is the right time for the Centre to push wheat production and find out the right balance.

I invite your opinions.
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