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World's food baskets need a better safety net as India curbs wheat exports

The world had been counting on Indian grain after the war in Ukraine, drought in Argentina and floods in Australia cut production from those countries

A farmer pours water on himself while working at a wheat farm in the Ludhiana district of Punjab. Photo: Bloomberg
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A farmer pours water on himself while working at a wheat farm in the Ludhiana district of Punjab. Photo: Bloomberg

David Fickling | Bloomberg
How has the world managed to double its population over the past 50 years while still keeping most of us fed? Much of it is down to globalization. 

In past centuries, crop failures in one region would inevitably lead to starvation. The 70% fall in ocean freight costs between 1840 and 1910 changed this, sparking the growth of a global trade in grains. About a quarter of all the calories we consume are now traded across borders. 

That’s added an important safety net to the world’s food systems. Thanks to the way major climate cycles shift rainfall from continent to continent,

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First Published: May 18 2022 | 8:28 AM IST

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