West indian countries

Banning wheat exports will boost food security for India and deficit countries: trade secretary

The Indian government decided on Saturday to ban wheat exports. A statement issued by the government says the decision to restrict wheat exports will control food prices, enhance food security for India and countries facing a deficit, and that India remains a reliable supplier as it honor all contracts.

In a press conference, BVR Commerce Secretary Subrahmanyam said that all export orders for which the letter of credit was issued will be fulfilled. He added that directing wheat exports through government channels will help meet the needs of Indian countries and food-deficit countries and also control inflationary expectations in the country.

He said the control order has three main purposes: “It maintains the country’s food security, it helps others who are in distress and maintains India’s reliability as a supplier.”

He said the government’s export order gave clear direction to the wheat market. “We don’t want wheat to go unregulated to places where it could simply be stored or not be used to meet the food needs of vulnerable nations. This is why the government-to-government window has remained open,” he said.

READ ALSO | India bans wheat exports with immediate effect to curb rise

Food and public distribution department secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said the country has sufficient food stocks. He added that after consulting with the states, the Center reallocated some quantities by changing the ratios of wheat and rice. For example, states that get wheat and rice in a 60:40 ratio will get it in a 40:60 ratio. Similarly, the ratio of 75:25 becomes 60:40.

For all northeastern states and special category states, the allocation has not been changed.

He added that the reassignment increased the availability by about 110 to 111 lakh metric tons (LMT) more.

Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja said heat waves had affected wheat crops, particularly in northwest India this year, but the difference in availability from last year last is marginal.

“Last year wheat production figures were 109 LMT for the country. This year in February we released advanced estimates for this year’s production and we estimated 111 LMT. Our estimates show an availability of 105 to 106 LMT of wheat this year and we are about the same in quantity and availability as last year,” he added.

READ ALSO | Why Wheat Prices Are Soaring Despite Bumper Stocks

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