To cope with soaring prices due to the drop in production due to scorching weather and to guarantee food security in the country of 1.4 billion inhabitants, India on Saturday ordered the wheat traders not to enter into new export agreements without prior government approval. This sudden announcement from the world's second largest wheat producer has caused chaos at the Deendayal Port Trust (DPT) in the western state of Gujarat. Nearly 4,000 trucks loaded with wheat are stuck and four ships partially loaded with some 80,000 tonnes of grain are also waiting to leave.
Port officials said shipments that arrived before May 13, when the Indian government notified the export ban, could leave on ships bound for countries like Egypt and South Korea, under previous agreements.
"However, trucks loaded with wheat that arrived at the port after May 13 will have to leave with the goods," said DPT spokesman Om Prakash Dadlani. The Gandhidham Chamber of Commerce estimated that some 400,000 tons of wheat from Punjab, Harayana, Madhya Pradesh and other producing states were in the DPT and nearby warehouses.
“Truckers and traders do not know what will happen to their goods”
Between 500 and 700 warehouses near the port of Kandla are "full of wheat for export", said Teja Kangad, president of the Gandhidham Chamber of Commerce, regretting that the government did not give notice instead. to abruptly announce the ban.
“This has led to a chaotic situation where truckers and traders do not know what will happen to their goods. In addition, wheat being a perishable commodity, it cannot stay in the air for long,” he added. At the same time, the G7 agriculture ministers criticized the Indian decision, fearing that the raw materials crisis would "worsen".
Until then, India had expressed readiness to support global markets in the event of supply problems caused by the invasion of Ukraine in February, which accounted for 12% of global exports. This year's production is estimated to fall by at least 5% compared to the 109 million tonnes harvested in 2021. Wheat prices broke a new record high on Monday when the European market opened, at 435 euros per ton.