“We are entering a summer full of uncertainties”, says an expert after India’s ban on wheat exports

We are entering more difficult weeks and a summer full of uncertainties“, estimated Saturday on franceinfo the researcher at the Institute of international and strategic relations (Iris) Sébastien Abis, while the second world producer of wheat, India, decided to ban exports in the face of extreme heat waves. in the country.

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In a context of wheat crisis already aggravated by the war in Ukraine, the man who is also director of the Demeter think tank specializing in agricultural issues is worried about a world that “risk of being agitated” if “everyone closes in on their internal needs“.

franceinfo: Could India overcome the wheat shortage on its own?

Sebastien Abis: No, in no case. Although it is the second largest producer in the world, India has 1.4 billion people to feed and above all protects its food security. It is also a country subject to great climatic variations and, in recent weeks, we have seen a runaway in temperatures and therefore the announcement that its 2022 harvest will not be as promising as expected. A number of specialists were already skeptical about India’s generous proposal and its ability to reach 10 million tonnes for export. She won’t. We will see if it is able to honor some of its commitments in recent weeks, but New Delhi’s decision is not a good sign for international food cooperation. We are entering more difficult weeks and a summer full of uncertainties, very high prices and an Indian origin which will not be sufficient to mitigate the Ukrainian loss, knowing that the other origins are also affected by droughts.

franceinfo: Should we expect more and more this protectionism?

Yes, we have a repeat of what happened during the food crisis of 2007 and 2008 with countries that prefer, not without reason, to protect their food security. The big difference is that multilateralism and international cooperation are very degraded. Despite the announcements of certain countries, we can clearly see that solidarity is diminishing across the planet. This is the importance of the initiatives taken by the European Union and France, the FARM initiative in particular, which pleads to maintain trade and emergency food aid in the coming weeks, while relaunching production because, between climatic risks and geopolitical risks, we will have to ensure food security by thinking on an international scale and not every man for himself.

franceinfo: Are we facing what scientists fear, namely climate change that will cause famines?

Yes, that’s why we need to combine the fight against climate change, by adapting to very strong weather variations between years, and a productive fight to maintain agricultural production at the current level. It is also to maintain international trade and avoid risks of social instability in certain countries. The agricultural and food issue must continue to be thought of as a great field of international diplomacy and the easing of tensions. If each one closes only on his internal needs, the world which comes is likely to be rather agitated.

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