India on Wednesday called on Western countries to not share food grains as anti-Covid-19 vaccines, expressing concern over hoarding and distribution of food grains amid “unreasonable rise” in prices. He said that his decision to ban the export of wheat will ensure that he can meet the needs of those in need.
Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said here on Wednesday, “Various low-income sections are today facing the twin challenges of rising food prices and difficulty in accessing them. Even countries like India with adequate reserves have seen an unreasonable increase in food grains. It is clear that hoarding is taking place. We can’t let it go on like this.” Muraleedharan was speaking at a ministerial meeting on the ‘Global Food Security Call to Action’, which was chaired by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The meeting comes at a time when India on Friday decided to ban wheat exports in an effort to check rising prices amid a shortage of wheat due to scorching heat. The decision is aimed at controlling the retail prices of wheat and wheat flour, which have risen by an average of 14 to 20 per cent in the last one year. At the same time, it aims to meet the food requirements of neighboring and vulnerable countries.
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The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification last week that export of wheat would be allowed based on the permission of the central government. For the first time in the United Nations, India spoke on the issue of ban on export of wheat in a high-level meeting. Muraleedharan said the Indian government acknowledges the sudden rise in global wheat prices, which “endangers our food security and that of our neighbors and other vulnerable countries”.
He said, “To deal with our own food security and to meet the needs of neighboring and other vulnerable developing countries, we announced certain measures regarding export of wheat on 13 May 2022.” Called upon and cautioned them that the issue of food grains should not be like anti-Covid-19 vaccines. Rich countries have procured a large number of anti-Covid vaccines, due to which poor and less developing countries have been struggling to give the first dose to their population.
“We have given food aid in the form of thousands of metric tonnes of wheat, flour and pulses to many countries including our neighbors and Africa to strengthen their food security,” Muraleedharan said, adding that in view of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. In view of this, India is donating 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to its people. “We are also giving more help, including food assistance, to Sri Lanka in difficult times,” he said.