International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva on Tuesday requested India to reconsider its ban on wheat exports, NDTV reported.
In an interview to the news channel, Georgieva said that the ban could have a domino effect with other countries following suit. This could in turn result in risks related to hunger, social unrest and global stability, she added.
India had banned wheat exports on May 13 as production in the country plunged due to a record-breaking heatwave since March. Within days, wheat prices rose globally on fears of disruption in supply due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which had accounted for 12% of global exports. India had said it was ready to help meet the supply shortages caused by the Ukraine war.
On Tuesday, Georgieva said she acknowledged the facts that India needs to provide foodgrains for 135 crore citizens and that the heatwave had reduced the country’s agricultural productivity.
“But I would beg India to reconsider as soon as possible because the more countries step into export restrictions, the more others would be tempted to do so and we would end up as a global community less equipped to deal with the crisis.”
On May 14, agriculture ministers from the Group of Seven, or G7 countries, had condemned India’s move to ban wheat exports.
“If everyone starts to impose export restrictions or to close markets, that would worsen the crisis,” German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir had said at a press conference. “We call on India to assume its responsibility as a G20 member.”
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.