But the warning of its export embargo underscores the weakness of the global food supply.
How did we get here?
According to the US Department of Agriculture, Ukraine is one of the top five global exporters of various major agricultural products, including corn, wheat and barley. It is a leading exporter of both sunflower oil and food.
But before the fighting began in Europe the food situation was dire. Supply chains and unpredictable weather patterns – often as a result of climate change – have already pushed food prices to their highest level in a decade. Affordability was also an issue after the epidemic left millions out of work.
After Modi’s promise, many vulnerable countries took over the goods from India.
“Indian wheat exports This year is very important in the context of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, “said Oscar Dijagra, a senior grain and oilseeds analyst at Rabobank.
“The ban will reduce the availability of global wheat for export in 2022 and provide support for global wheat prices,” he added.
On Monday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she hoped Indian authorities would “reconsider that position.”
Rising food security
The government said the restrictions did not apply “in cases where pre-pledges were made by private traders” and did not apply to countries seeking goods “to meet their food security needs.”
According to Dijagra, these exceptions should be considered “good news”, but the barrier makes it difficult to assess the impact on global trade.
He added that the “severity of the impact” of the ban “still depends on the amount of Indian wheat exports allowed by the government and the volume of wheat production from other global wheat producers”.
Some analysts in India say that allowing unrestricted exports is a bad idea at first.
“We do not know what will happen to India’s climate,” Devinder Sharma, an agricultural policy expert from India, told CNN Business.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), India is one of the countries most likely to be affected by the effects of the climate crisis.
If crops are destroyed due to unpredictable weather, India will face food shortages and “stand with a begging bowl,” Sharma added.
India is not the only country looking inward And restricts agricultural exports.
“As inflation is already rising in Asia, the risks are shifting towards greater food security, but these measures could exacerbate global food price pressures,” Nomura analyst Sonal Verma said in a statement on Saturday.
He added that the impact of India’s wheat embargo would be “proportionately felt by low-income developing countries”.
Nomura said Bangladesh was India’s largest exporter of wheat, followed by Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Yemen, the Philippines and Nepal.