India bans wheat exports amid Ukraine crisis

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India bans wheat exports amid Ukraine crisis

India, the world's second largest wheat producer, has banned exports of the grain with some exceptions, a move that could add to a shortfall worsened by the war in Ukraine and exacerbate an already dire forecast for hunger across the globe.

The war has stopped wheat production in Ukraine and Russia, which are major suppliers. Fighting and blockades in the Black Sea have disrupted the transport of grain. And poor harvests in China, along with a heat wave in India and drought in other countries, have snarled global supply.

India has about 10 percent of the world's grain reserves, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture. Its heavily subsidizing of its farmers has resulted in a large surplus. It has been seen as a country that could help make up for global supply shortages.

The Commerce Ministry notice dated Friday showed that the wheat export ban appears to be an answer to earlier statements by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Indian leader said in April that the country was ready to supply the world from its reserves. He also urged domestic wheat producers to take advantage of the opportunity, saying that Indian officials and financial institutions should support exporters.