India bans export of wheat with immediate effect to control rising prices

India has effectively prohibited wheat exports with immediate effect, ostensibly to control local price increases. Wheat prices reached a decadal high in April in the country, which is the world’s second-largest wheat producer.

The official announcement comes as the Ukraine war, which began in February, enters its 12th week, and countries’ access to the Black Sea has been restricted. The United Nations has regularly expressed worry about a possible food crisis.

“The export policy of wheat … is prohibited with immediate effect…,” the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification on Friday night.

Wheat exports, on the other hand, will be permitted if the government grants permission to other nations to meet their food security needs based on their requests.

“Export will be allowed in case of shipments where an irrevocable letter of credit is issued on or before the date of notification. Export will be allowed on the basis of permission granted by the government of India to other countries to meet their food security needs and based on the request of the governments,” reads the statement.

“The export policy of onion seeds has been put under the restricted category, with immediate fact,” it said, news agency PTI reported.

In the midst of the Ukraine conflict, India hoped to assist other countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said last month after a chat with the US President Joe Biden: “Today the world is facing an uncertain situation as nobody is getting what they want. Petrol, oil and fertilizers are hard to procure as all the doors are getting closed. Everybody wants to secure their stocks after this (Russia-Ukraine) war began.”

“The world is facing a new challenge now—the food stock of the world is diminishing. I was speaking to the US President, and he also raised this issue… If the WTO gives permission, India is ready to supply food stock to the world from tomorrow,” he had added.