When New Delhi imposed a ban on wheat shipments as prices skyrocketed due to the war in Ukraine, it sparked international outrage and drove the commodity further higher.
Farmers and dealers in India are now enraged that they have been denied a profit as local prices have plunged.
Despite the fact that India is the world’s second-largest wheat grower, the government, which is also the country’s largest buyer of grain, stated that it decided to defend food security for its massive population over inflation worries.
The decision, along with declining global supplies from Russia and Ukraine, two of the world’s top five wheat producers, propelled prices to all-time highs on Chicago and European commodity exchanges.
However, prices fell in Asia’s largest grain market in Khanna, in India’s breadbasket state of Punjab.
Thousands of farmers from the wheat-growing region sell their goods at the facility, which is dominated by a dozen massive storage structures the size of a football field.
Prices for 100 kilos of wheat dropped from 2,300 rupees (about $30) before the export restriction to 2,015 rupees – the government-set minimum price at which it buys grain for its huge public distribution system.
Hundreds of millions of small farmers in India live on the edge, exposed to the whims of the weather, and those in Punjab were already suffering from crop losses caused by a severe heatwave.
They claim that the price drop reflects the difference between a large payment and heartbreak.
Navtej Singh, a farmer, preserved half of his 60-tonne wheat harvest to sell during the lean season when prices generally jump and is shocked by the government’s decision.
He described the ban to AFP as a “shock”, adding that “the price has dropped to the lowest and doesn’t even cover our expenses. I can’t even wait for a day.”
According to him, authorities acted “selfishly” and the ban has made life more difficult.
Source: Agencies (edited by Al-Manar English Website)