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MUMBAI / BUENOS AIRES / LONDON, 27 June (Reuters) – Last month it took only 24 hours for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in India – the second largest producer of wheat in world – to set aside his plans to “feed the world”.

In April, Modi had said publicly that the world’s most populous democracy was ready to fill part of the gap left by Ukraine in global wheat markets by increasing its wheat exports, after a record five harvests. consecutive. India traditionally exports only a modest amount of grain, and keeps most of its crops for domestic consumption.

On May 12, the Ministry of Commerce of India & amp; The industry said it was preparing to send delegations to nine countries to export a record 10 million tonnes of wheat this fiscal year – strongly in the previous season.

FALLING DOMINOS

Some countries had already announced export restraints last year, due to the tightening of global food supplies. But the dominos really began to decline after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, with global prices for both grains and vegetable oils rising.

In March, Argentina increased taxes on its soybean oil and food exports and imposed a lower limit than last year on new wheat exports. To see also : What is home appreciation in real estate?.

India’s ban on wheat exports came after Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of palm oil, had already restricted exports of palm oil – an essential ingredient in cooking and baking – from April 28 and quoted the need to ensure that the country has “abundant and affordable supplies.”

India is the world’s largest importer of palm oil and Indonesia is one of its most important suppliers. Indonesia lifted its ban on May 20.

On 23 May, Malaysia banned the export of chickens from the beginning of this month after a global shortage of feed aggravated by the conflict in Ukraine disrupted poultry production and led to a sharp rise in prices for one of the cheapest sources of protein in the country.

The wave of export restrictions already affects nearly one-fifth of the world’s traded calories – almost double the impact of the last global food crisis of 2008, according to the International Institute. Food Policy Research Center (IFPRI), a Washington-based think tank that aims. to reduce poverty in developing countries.

“These types of measures tend to provoke some panic behavior or build-up on the part of buyers … which accelerates the high price,” said IFPRI researcher David Laborde Debucquet.

The European Union – which includes many of the world’s largest value-added food importers – is urging its trading partners not to pursue protectionist policies.

“The European Union keeps its food exports going, and so does everyone,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech this month.

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ENSURING DOMESTIC SUPPLIES

Even before the war in Ukraine, the Argentine government, which is now fighting domestic inflation above 60%, took steps late last year to halt rising food prices. See the article : JADA introduces a series of comments on global oral health. local. It placed limits on grain and wheat exports, adding to a previous ban on beef shipments.

After the invasion of Russia, it took additional steps, increasing taxes on shipments of processed soybean oil and meal.

Argentina is the world’s largest exporter of soybean oil and food, the world’s second largest global supplier and leading exporter of wheat.

A source at Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture, who asked not to be identified because he was not allowed to speak to the media, said the government’s priority was to safeguard food items needed for domestic consumption.

Export limits set at the end of 2021 have helped protect milling and domestic consumers from rising international prices following the conflict in Ukraine, the source said.

But Gustavo Idigoras, head of Argentina’s CIARA-CEC grain processors and exporters chamber, said that despite export caps and additional taxes, the government struggled to stop inflation in the country. the price of solid food in Argentina, which was already high before the conflict in Ukraine.

In the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, the cost of bread has risen by 69% a year, meat by 64% and vegetables by 66%, forcing people to change their diet. and seek cheaper offers.

Edith Elizabeth Plou, 39, a shop in Buenos Aires, had traveled miles from her home to arrive in the large Central Market of the Argentine capital to get lower prices for her groceries, which have risen sharply over the past year.

“I work eight hours and the truth is I often think about finding a second job to cover my expenses,” Plou said.

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Additional reporting by Sarah McFarlane in London; Edited by Daniel Flynn This may interest you : The report indicates that DSV has interests in acquiring C.H. Robinson’s Global Forwarding Business.

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