China has taken on the G7 countries for criticising India’s decision to ban wheat exports and has accused the West of wanting to shift the blame of the potential global food crisis to developing economies, including India.

“The military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which together account for about 30 per cent of global wheat exports, has sent shock waves to the global market, posing a grave threat to global market food supply. Now, the agriculture ministers from G7 urge India not to ban wheat exports, then why won’t G7 nations themselves move to stabilise food market supply by hiking their exports?,” according to an editorial in Global Times, an arm of the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, the People’s Daily.

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India placed a ban on wheat exports last week on the back of rising domestic prices citing a threat to food security of the nation. The G7 — which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and the EU — condemned India’s decision and German agriculture minister Cem Ozdemir stated that it “would worsen the crisis.”

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“Blaming India won’t solve the food problem, although there is no denying that India’s move to stop its wheat exports may push up wheat prices a little bit. The West just wants to shift the blame to the developing economies, including India,” the editorial said.

Food security

In the wake of a looming food crisis, what should the developing economies do to ensure their food security? “Firstly, each country needs to increase local food production and reduce reliance on imported grain,” it added.

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Irrespective of the overall ban on wheat exports, India will allow exports to countries that require wheat for food security needs based on the requests of their governments, according to a notification from the India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade.

Not a key exporter

The Chinese tabloid pointed out that while India was the second-largest wheat producer in the world, it accounted for only a small part of global wheat exports. Some developed economies, including the US, Canada, the EU and Australia, on the other hand, are among major exporters of wheat.

“If some Western countries decide to reduce wheat exports in the wake of a potential global food crisis, they will be in no position to criticize India, a country that faces huge pressure to secure its own food supply in order to feed its huge population,” it said.

The G7’s performance in the area of stabilising world food supply was lackluster, the editorial noted. “For instance, the US Department of Agriculture in April reduced its estimate for US exports of wheat for the year 2021-22 to 785 million bushels, the lowest level since 2015-16,” it said.