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India has banned wheat exports as the price of grain surged this year due in part to the Russia-Ukraine war.
T. Narayan | Bloomberg | Getty Images
India has banned wheat exports, becoming the latest country to do so as the price of grain surged this year due in part to the Russia-Ukraine war.
The war has triggered a huge spike in wheat prices, with Russia and Ukraine among the biggest exporters of the commodity. Both countries account for 29% of global wheat exports, according to the World Bank.
Wheat prices soared around 6% on Monday after India’s weekend announcement.
“With food prices already high due to COVID-related supply chain disruptions and drought-reduced yields last year, Russia’s invasion came at a bad time for global food markets,” said the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in an April note.
Washington D.C.-based think-tank the Peterson Institute for International Economics added in a recent note that Russia’s war on Ukraine has “taken a shocking toll on the region.” “It has also contributed to a global food crisis, as Russia is blocking vital fertilizer exports needed by farmers elsewhere, and Ukraine’s role as the breadbasket for Africa and the Middle East has been destroyed.”
Russia and Ukraine are among the top five global exporters for many important cereals and oilseeds, such as barley, sunflowers and sunflower oil, as well as maize, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.
India is not alone. In addition to Russia and Ukraine, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kosovo and Serbia have also banned wheat exports.
Inflation and food security fears
And it’s not just wheat. Many countries have also implemented a ban on other food exports as global inflation soared as a result of the Ukraine crisis.
Prices have soared for a wide variety of other food products, contributing to rising inflation worldwide. Some of these products include sunflower oil, palm oil, fertilizers and grains.
Other than rising food prices, supply of many food products are also uncertain.
Ukraine has not been able to export grains, fertilizers and vegetable oil, while the conflict is also destroying crop fields and preventing a normal planting season. The government has also accused Russia of stealing several hundred thousand metric tons of grain and reselling them. Russia’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
“As the war continues, there is a growing likelihood that food shortages, particularly of grains and vegetable oils, will become acute, leading more countries to turn to restrictions on trade,” wrote IFPRI analysts Joseph Glauber, David Laborde and Abdullah Mamun.
Over the weekend, the Group of 7 industrialized nations issued a warning about the risk of a world hunger crisis unless Russia lifts a blockade on Ukrainian grain that’s currently stuck at Ukrainian ports, according to the Financial Times.
Here’s a list of countries that have banned food exports in the months after the Russia-Ukraine war started, according to a live tracker developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute.
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute
India has said it’s banning wheat exports “to manage the overall food security of the country,” according to local media reports.
Other countries that recently implemented food export bans include Indonesia, which restricted the exports of palm oil, a key ingredient used in many food as well as non-food products.
Similar to India, Indonesia cited the need to ensure food availability domestically, after global food inflation soared to record highs following the war. Indonesia accounts for more than half of the world’s palm oil supply.
— Correction: This story was corrected to reflect that the live tracker on food export bans is developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute.