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(G-7) Agriculture ministers condemns India's decision to ban wheat exports

BERLIN, May 14 (KUNA) -- Agriculture ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations on Saturday condemned India's decision to ban unapproved wheat exports after the country was hit by a punishing heatwave.
"If everyone starts to impose export restrictions or to close markets, that would worsen the crisis," German agriculture minister Cem Ozdemir said at a press conference in Stuttgart.
Some "20 million tons" of wheat were sitting in Ukrainian silos and "urgently" needed to be exported, Ozdemir said.
The ministers also called on India to abide by its commitments as a G-20 member and abandon the ban, and return to international open markets.
Earlier, India banned wheat exports without prior government approval after recent scorching temperatures hit production, in a blow to countries affected by supply shortages because of the war in Ukraine.
India, the world's second-largest wheat producer, said that factors including lower wheat production and sharply higher global prices because of the war meant that it was now worried about its own "food security".
The decision came as global agricultural markets were under severe stress due to Russia's military operations in Ukraine.
Before the war, Ukraine exported 4.5 million tons of agricultural produce per month through its ports -- 12 percent of the planet's wheat, 15 percent of its corn and half of its sunflower oil. (end) anj.mb