ADEN (Reuters) – A Yemeni delegation will visit India next week in a bid to secure wheat for the war-ravaged country where strategic food stockpiles are running out, a government minister said on Thursday.
Mohammed al Ashwal, the trade and industry minister of Yemen’s Saudi-backed government, told Reuters the delegation would seek to finalise an agreement to import wheat from India.
Yemen’s exisiting strategic food stock piles would last until the end of August, he said.
India in May banned wheat exports as its output fell and domestic prices surged. It has since issued exemptions for certain countries.
“There has been great progress in implementing the agreement with the Indian government regarding lifting the ban on wheat exports to Yemen,” Ashwal said.
It was not immediately clear how much wheat Yemen was seeking from India or how soon it could be delivered, if a deal was reached.
Disruption to Ukrainian and Russian exports, caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and India’s export ban risk deepening Yemen’s hunger crisis and pushing up food price inflation, which has doubled in two years in some parts of the country.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Yemen in a seven-year-old conflict that pits a Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, and millions are living in near-famine conditions.
The economy and basic services have largely collapsed and humanitarian assistance has also begun to dry up with some aid agencies forced cut back or stop food, health and other supplies.
(Reporting by Mohammed Alghobari, writing by Alexander Cornwell, editing by Robert Birsel)