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India halts wheat exports with immediate effect to calm local prices

In order to calm local prices, India has prohibited wheat exports with immediate effect according to a statement issued by the agricultural ministry.

However, India which is the world’s second-largest producer of wheat, will send shipments and allow letters of credit that the country had issued previously.

A record-shattering and an unusually early heat wave has scorched India’s wheat crop and snagged export plans.

After a plunge in wheat exports from the Black Sea region due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, global buyers were banking on India for supplies.

But with rising domestic inflation in India due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, it was becoming extremely difficult to balance its national needs with ambitions to increase exports and make up for global shortfalls.

Wheat, which is very sensitive to heat, especially during the final stage when its kernels mature and ripen, could not bear the hottest heatwave in India since 1901.

Also read | Wheat consignments being sent to Oman, says Indian Envoy to Muscat Amit Narang

Usually, Indian farmers try that the period of plantation for wheat coincides with the spring season as it is cooler but this time an unusually early heatwave stunts crops.

According to a study published by the medical journal Lancet, India’s vulnerability to extreme heat increased 15 per cent from 1990 to 2019.

Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at the Imperial College of London believes that climate change has made India’s heatwave hotter.

Otto believes that while heatwaves like this year’s would have struck India once in about half a century before human activities increased global temperatures, it has become a common event now and can occur once every four years. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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