Why India's Latest Announcement Adds To The Food Security Crisis

The war in Ukraine has impacted the food industry across the globe. Among the widely felt results of the conflict are fast food companies pausing operations in Russia, as well as business at Russian restaurants declining in the United States.

Another lasting result of the conflict has been Ukraine's inability to export wheat, in addition to other valuable products such as fertilizers and vegetable oil, explains CNBC. According to The Washington Post, Ukraine "produces a fifth of the world's high-grade wheat and 7% of all wheat," feeding a number of countries from Yemen to Pakistan. This is due to its extremely fertile soil, making it the ideal location to grow this essential export, per Investment Monitor. Because Ukraine's exports have been heavily affected by the war, other countries have had to turn elsewhere to get their wheat. Now, India's latest announcement has given these importers one less place to turn to when looking for the grain.

India will only export wheat to select countries

Over the weekend, India announced that wheat will be banned as an export from the country, according to Mint. Like Ukraine, India is one of the largest wheat-producing countries in the world. Though it typically does not export most of this wheat, it did have plans to send out 10 million tons of it to other countries through 2023, reports ABC. In a turn of events, however, India revealed that these exports would halt for food security reasons, and also partially due to a heat wave that has lowered production of the grain.

After the initial announcement, India shared that it has decided to continue exporting wheat to nearby "food-deficit countries" based on prior agreements, per ABC. Meanwhile, reports CNBC, officials in the U.S. and European Union are investigating ways to avoid a "global hunger crisis," concerned that export bans could end up further damaging supply chains and increasing food prices around the world. Amid the controversy about the ban, a Chinese publication pointed out that the U.S., among other countries, is a larger global exporter of wheat than India, per Mint.