It only took 24 hours last month for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in India. The world’s second-largest producer of wheat – to shelve its plans to “feed the world”.
On May 12, India’s Ministry of Commerce & Industry said it was preparing to send delegations to nine countries; to export a record 10 million tonnes of wheat this fiscal year – sharply up the previous season. But a barrage of alarming data changed all that.
Dry weather in Argentina – the world’s sixth largest wheat exporter; has stalled planting of the crop and weighed down production forecasts for the 2022/23 season.
Moreover, the mood in the international forum’s such as G20 is now less collaborative after years of populism. And heightened tension between major geopolitical players, Evenett said.
Some countries had already announced export curbs last year, given the tightness in global food supplies. But the dominos really started to fall following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, with global prices of both grains and vegetable oils soaring.
The European Union – which includes several of the world’s biggest food importers by value; is urging its trade partners not to enact protectionist policies.
ENSURING DOMESTIC SUPPLIES
Even before the war in Ukraine, Argentina’s government, battling domestic inflation now over 60%, took steps late last year to stem the rise in local food prices. It placed caps on exports of corn and wheat, adding to an earlier ban on shipments of beef.
In the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, the cost of bread has risen 69% in a year, meat 64% and vegetables 66%; forcing people to change their diets and seek cheaper deals.