The United States hopes that India will “reconsider” its decision to restrict wheat exports
India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, has banned wheat exports to verify high domestic prices amid concerns that wheat production is being damaged by heat waves.
The decision will help control the retail price of wheat and wheat flour, which has grown by an average of 14-20 per cent in the last one year, in addition to meeting the food grain demand of neighboring and weaker countries.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, told a virtual New York Foreign Press Center briefing on Monday: “We have seen reports of India’s decision. “We urge countries not to restrict exports because we think any restrictions on exports will only increase the food deficit.”
“But you – again, India will be one of the countries participating in our meeting in the Security Council, and we hope that they will reconsider that position, given the concerns of other countries.” He said.
Thomas-Greenfield was responding to a question about India’s decision to restrict wheat exports.
The U.S. ambassador said Ukraine was a bread basket for the developing world, but “since Russia began blocking important ports and destroying civilian infrastructure and grain silos, the hunger situation in Africa and the Middle East has worsened.”
“It’s a crisis for the whole world, and so it belongs to the United Nations. We have a responsibility to the millions of people who are worried about where they will get their next meal or how they will feed their families. This week is about owning that responsibility and taking steps to address food insecurity around the world, “he said.
The United States is chairing the UN Security Council for the month of May and will host a food security signing ceremony this week in the wake of the international conflict, such as the Russia-Ukraine war, which has highlighted food insecurity.
On May 19, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will chair an open debate on “Maintaining International Peace and Security: Conflict and Food Security.”
Ahead of the Security Council meeting, Blinken will chair a global food security call-to-action ministerial meeting on Wednesday that will bring together officials from dozens of countries to review their urgent humanitarian and development needs to address global food security, nutrition and resilience. Dr. Thomas-Greenfield.
“This will include countries with different perspectives, ranging from major food suppliers to those facing significant food crises,” he said.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V Muralitharan, who will be in New York from May 17 to 20, will attend a high-level ministerial meeting on “Global Food Security – Call to Action” and issue a statement to the UNSC open debate.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a statement last week that wheat exports would be allowed to other countries to meet their food security needs and on the basis of permission granted by the Indian government at their request. .
Due to good demand for Indian wheat from abroad, India’s wheat exports in 2021-22 are at an all-time high of 6 million tonnes, valued at USD 2.05 billion. Out of the total wheat exports, about 50 percent of the consignments were exported to Bangladesh in the last financial year.
Thomas-Greenfield said the open debate would examine the relationship between conflict and food security, and the council would consider the steps needed to ensure that food security escalates do not lead to new conflicts, instability, especially in fragile states.
The United States began several days of action on global food security on Monday, with Thomas-Greenfield saying the Biden administration had been a priority from day one.
“The hard truth that we have to consider is that people all over the world go hungry every day even though we have more than enough food. Worse, many are hungry and do not know where their next food will come from because the extremists are deliberately using hunger as a weapon of war.
“Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, Somalia and Yemen are just a few examples where the conflict is driving people to starvation. Thomas-Greenfield says the work of the day is to bring this crisis to the center of the world’s attention, and that is – because of Russia’s brutal and unpleasant war in Ukraine.
India noted with concern that the Ukraine conflict was having an unstable effect, with wider regional and global implications.
“Oil prices are skyrocketing and there is a shortage of food grains and fertilizers. This has had a disproportionate impact on the global south and developing countries,” said Permanent Representative of India to UN Ambassador TS Tirumurthy.
Last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in Vienna that he was “deeply concerned” about the widespread spread of hunger in various parts of the world as we face a “dramatic food security situation” due to the war in Ukraine.
“It is my belief that many of the solutions that deal with the need to do everything possible to keep the market open, to avoid export sanctions, to intervene in the market to keep prices as low as possible, independently.
“I believe that there is no solution to the problem except to bring back the food production in Ukraine and the food and fertilizer production in the Russian Federation and Belarus,” Guterres said.
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