Agriculture ministers from the Group of Seven, or G7, countries on Saturday condemned India’s move to ban wheat exports due to rising prices and a decline in production of the crop, AFP reported.
“If everyone starts to impose export restrictions or to close markets, that would worsen the crisis,” German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir said at a press conference. “We call on India to assume its responsibility as a G20 member.”
On Friday, India had announced banning wheat exports to control the rising prices of the crop in the country. However, the government had said that shipments ordered on or before May 13 will be exported.
India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade had said that exports will be allowed in case permissions are granted by the Union government to help other countries in meeting their food security needs.
India accounts for 13.53% of the world’s wheat production, making it the second-largest producer after Russia.
Before the Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, India only accounted for 1% of global exports. After the crisis, India was looking to export a record one crore tonnes of wheat in 2022-2023.
However, amid the record rise in global demand, wheat production in India had plunged, notably due to the severe heatwaves since March.
On Friday, the agriculture ministers said they would recommend India’s move to ban wheat exports be addressed at the G7 summit in Germany in June for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to attend, according to AFP.
The ministers said that they were troubled by the “expected serious consequences” for global food security and nutrition caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Its [Russia’s invasion] impact on Ukraine’s internationally significant agricultural sector places global food security and nutrition under severe strain, and further intensifies worldwide humanitarian needs for which President [Vladimir] Putin and his accomplices bear the full responsibility,” a statement issued by the agriculture ministers said. “This severe situation is being exacerbated by export restrictions.”