Countries banning food exports amid rising prices, inflation

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India has banned wheat exports as the price of grain surged this year due in part to the Russia-Ukraine war.

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.

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

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
Argentina Soybean oil, soybean meal, Dec 31, 2023
Algeria Pasta, wheat derivatives, vegetable oil, sugar Dec 31, 2022
Egypt Vegetable oil, maize June 12, 2022
Wheat, flour, oils, lentils, pasta, beans June 10, 2022
India Wheat Dec 31, 2022
Indonesia Palm oil, palm kernel oil Dec 31, 2022
Iran Potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, onion Dec 31, 2022
Kazakhstan Wheat, wheat flour June 15, 2022
Kosovo Wheat, corn, flour, vegetable oil, salt, sugar, Dec 31, 2022
Turkey Beef, mutton, goat meat, butter, cooking oils Dec 31, 2022
Ukraine Wheat, oats, millet, sugar Dec 31, 2022
Russia Sugar, sunflower seeds Aug 31, 2022
Wheat, meslin, rye, barley, maize June 30, 2022
Serbia Wheat, corn, flour, oil Dec 31, 2022
Tunisia Fruits, vegetables Dec 31, 2022
Kuwait Chicken meat products, grains, vegetable oils Dec 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’s palm oil supply.

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