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India isn’t the only one banning food exports. These countries are doing the same

Workers unload wheat sacks from a truck at a Punjab Grains Procurement Corp. facility in the Ludhiana district of Punjab, India, on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
T. Narayan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

India has banned wheat exports, becoming the latest country to do so as the price of grain surged this year due in part to the Russia-Ukraine war.

The war has triggered a huge spike in wheat prices, with Russia and Ukraine among the biggest exporters of the commodity. Both countries account for 29% of global wheat exports, according to the World Bank.

Wheat prices soared around 6% on Monday after India’s weekend announcement.

“With food prices already high due to COVID-related supply chain disruptions and drought-reduced yields last year, Russia’s invasion came at a bad time for global food markets,” said the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), a Washington D.C.-based think tank, in an April note.

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Russia and Ukraine are among the top five global exporters for many important cereals and oilseeds, such as barley, sunflowers and sunflower oil, as well as maize, according to PIIE.

India is not alone. In addition to Russia and Ukraine, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kosovo and Serbia have also banned wheat exports.

Inflation and food security fears

And it’s not just wheat. Many countries have also implemented a ban on other food exports as global inflation soared as a result of the Ukraine crisis.

Prices have soared for a wide variety of other food products, contributing to rising inflation worldwide. Some of these products include sunflower oil, palm oil, fertilizers and grains.

Other than rising food prices, supply of many food products are also uncertain.

As the war continues, there is a growing likelihood that food shortages, particularly of grains and vegetable oils, will become acute…
Peterson Institute for International Economics

Ukraine has not been able to export grains, fertilizers and vegetable oil, while the conflict is also destroying crop fields and preventing a normal planting season. The government has also accused Russia of stealing several hundred thousand metric tons of grain and reselling them.Russia’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

“As the war continues, there is a growing likelihood that food shortages, particularly of grains and vegetable oils, will become acute, leading more countries to turn to restrictions on trade,” wrote PIIE analysts Joseph Glauber, David Laborde and Abdullah Mamun.

Over the weekend, the Group of 7 industrialized nations issued a warning about the risk of a world hunger crisis unless Russia lifts a blockade on Ukrainian grain that’s currently stuck at Ukrainian ports, according to the Financial Times.

Countries banning food exports

Here’s a list of countries that have banned food exports in the months after the Russia-Ukraine war started, according to a live tracker developed by the PIIE.

List of countries with bans on food exports

Country Type of food product Ban end date ArgentinaSoybean oil, soybean meal,Dec 31, 2023AlgeriaPasta, wheat derivatives, vegetable oil, sugarDec 31, 2022EgyptVegetable oil, maizeJune 12, 2022Wheat, flour, oils, lentils, pasta, beansJune 10, 2022IndiaWheatDec 31, 2022IndonesiaPalm oil, palm kernel oilDec 31, 2022IranPotatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, onionDec 31, 2022KazakhstanWheat, wheat flourJune 15, 2022KosovoWheat, corn, flour, vegetable oil, salt, sugar, Dec 31, 2022TurkeyBeef, mutton, goat meat, butter, cooking oilsDec 31, 2022UkraineWheat, oats, millet, sugarDec 31, 2022RussiaSugar, sunflower seedsAug 31, 2022Wheat, meslin, rye, barley, maizeJune 30, 2022SerbiaWheat, corn, flour, oilDec 31, 2022TunisiaFruits, vegetablesDec 31, 2022
Source: Peterson Institute for International Economics

India has said it’s banning wheat exports “to manage the overall food security of the country,” according to local media reports.

Other countries that recently implemented food export bans include Indonesia, which restricted the exports of palm oil, a key ingredient used in many food as well as non-food products.

Similar to India, Indonesia cited the need to ensure food availability domestically, after global food inflation soared to record highs following the war. Indonesia accounts for more than half of the world’spalm oil supply.

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