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India says ban on wheat exports is to check unregulated trade

·1 min read
Farmers use a combine to deposit harvested wheat on the outskirts of Indore

By Nigam Prusty

New Delhi (Reuters) - Indian government officials, speaking just hours after the country banned wheat exports, said there was no dramatic fall in wheat output this year but unregulated exports had led to a rise in local prices.

"We don't want wheat trade to happen in an unregulated manner or hoarding to happen," a senior government official told reporters in New Delhi on Saturday.

The government said it would still allow exports backed by already issued letters of credit and to countries that request supplies "to meet their food security needs".

Global buyers were banking on supplies from the world's second-biggest wheat producer after exports from the Black Sea region plunged following Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Before the ban, India had aimed to ship a record 10 million tonnes this year.

(Additional reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj in New Delhi, Nupur Anand in Mumbai, Writing by Rupam Jain, Editing by Kirsten Donovan)