Russia and Ukraine account for roughly 25% of world wheat exports. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the following Western sanctions imposed on Moscow have severely lowered their wheat provides. As a end result, many nations that beforehand sourced wheat primarily from these two nations at the moment are in determined want of options.
India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer after China, is claimed to be eyeing the void. The authorities intends to permit extra exports as a way to capitalize on the upper worth of wheat on the worldwide market.
Food safety advocates, then again, emphasize the significance of prioritizing native costs and making certain ample provides for home consumption earlier than deciding on the variety of exports.
Between 2017 and 2021, Russia and Ukraine exported 183 and 91 million tonnes (MT) of wheat, respectively, whereas India exported solely a small portion of its output or 12.6 MT. The European Union (157 MT), the United States (125 MT), Canada (112 MT), and Australia accounted for almost all of wheat exports throughout this time interval (83 MT).
India, which had the second-highest wheat provide (together with manufacturing, present shares, and imports) on this interval -613 million tonnes-exported solely 2% of this, with the remaining consumed domestically and saved. Other main exporters, then again, might be able to promote vital parts of their provide. For instance, the United States exported 31% of its 404 MT provide from 2017 to 2021. Canada exported 60.5 p.c of its 186 MT provide, whereas Australia exported 57 p.c of its 146 MT provide.
Many African, West Asian, and Southeast Asian nations rely closely on Russian and Ukrainian wheat. Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, will get 93 p.c of its wheat from its East European neighbours. Indonesia, the world’s second-largest importer, is 30 p.c depending on these two nations.
African nations similar to Sudan (80% reliance), Tanzania (64%), Libya (53%), Tunisia (52%), and West Asian nations similar to Lebanon (77%), Yemen (50%), and the United Arab Emirates (42%), are additionally closely reliant on provides from the 2 neighbours at the moment at struggle.
According to APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) chairman Dr. Madhaiyaan Angamuthu, India is now specializing in exporting wheat to many of those nations. “Our target markets include Egypt, Turkey, Nigeria, Algeria, the Middle East, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, the Philippines, Morocco, and Tanzania,” he added.
“APEDA has created a task group to give impetus to wheat export promotion as well as to bring focus on the challenges and bottlenecks faced in production and export,” Dr. Angamuthu defined.
With India’s wheat harvesting season (March to May) coinciding with the availability crunch, a bumper crop anticipated this yr, and vital buffer shares, meals safety activists agree that India is well-positioned to step in and fill the void. They cautioned, nevertheless, that India mustn’t lose sight of its home wants whereas exporting surplus wheat.
The Indian authorities ought to prioritize worth stability and grain availability for inside consumption, whereas additionally making certain that farmers are adequately compensated, in line with Dipa Sinha, Assistant Professor at Delhi’s Ambedkar University’s School of Liberal Studies.
“The government’s first priority should be to meet the food security needs of all Indians,” stated Dr. Sinha, who was concerned within the Right to Food marketing campaign. “This would necessitate the continuation of the PDS [public distribution system], the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), as well as the expansion of the net to include more people who are currently excluded.” This can be vital on condition that market costs are anticipated to rise additional. However, with greater costs obtainable, the federal government ought to think about buying wheat required for these meals safety necessities from Indian farmers at a lower cost than the present MSP,” she added.
“The government should plan this move so that it has no impact on local consumption. A bumper crop of wheat is expected, allowing the government to meet its distribution and buffer needs. Furthermore, there are currently no export restrictions, so farmers can benefit from higher prices by selling surplus to private traders for exports” Dr. Sinha expressed his ideas.
Boosting Farm Revenue
Former Principal Adviser to the Commissioners of the Indian Supreme Court within the Right to Food case, Biraj Patnaik, noticed that the peace clause adopted on the World Trade Organization’s Bali Ministerial in 2014 doesn’t preclude India from exporting meals grains.
“With the buffer stocks on hand, India should increase its wheat exports to the greatest extent possible in order to stabilise global prices,” Patnaik stated. “It is also significant because countries that rely on Russia and Ukraine for wheat are looking for an alternative source.” “The government should take advantage of this opportunity by purchasing all of the wheat grown at M.S.P., which would benefit Indian farmers,” he added.