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Indian Rice Exports Eased Global Prices, Stabilised Supplies
 Shri Pawar Addresses High Level International meet on Food Prices

New Delhi: October 1,2012

Agriculture Minister, Shri Sharad Pawar today sought to highlight India’s role in stabilising global food supplies and moderating price rise.

The Minister was addressing the meeting of the ‘High Level Regional Consultation on Policies to Respond to High Food Prices in Asia and the Pacific Region’ organized by FAO at Bangkok.

From an importing nation India has now become a nation that exports wheat and rice, the Agriculture Minister said. “I am glad to inform that our efforts are showing excellent outcomes. From having to import about 6.5 million tonne of wheat in 2006 and 2007 we are now not only meeting the domestic demand but have also begun contributing to global supply through exports. Similarly, in case of rice, we faced problems in 2009 as our buffer stocks kept for supplies under public distribution system had dipped due to inadequate production. In the past twelve months, however, due to record production over the years, we have already exported about 8 million tonne of rice. The exports from India has not only stabilized the global supplies but have helped in easing the ruling high prices to affordable levels.”

Stating that increasing agricultural production and diversifying the production base has become the need of the hour, he said, “India has been following since 2007 the strategy of agricultural development by widening the production base and focusing attention to high potential low producing areas through intensive promotion of technologies in order to bridge the yield gaps.”

Laying stress on the global food economy in domestic context he went on to state “In order to better understand the global food economy in domestic context we in India have initiated a study project on developing Agricultural Outlook where situation analysis and forecasts are prepared periodically for the short and the medium terms. We are grateful to FAO for supporting this initiative with technical assistance on international exposure and capacity building. We believe that informed decisions based on sound analysis help develop better understanding of food situation internationally and locally.”

Informing the various international organizations and policy experts gathered at the consultation meeting he informed: “India is actively involved in the evolution of these mechanisms, for shaping the information system for a sound real time analysis of the developing situation on supply, stocks, trade, demand and prices of food grains in different parts of the world. We believe that credible information generated by the system would be a valuable input for any policy initiative at the country level should any of the supply, price or trade shocks cause disruption in food availability. Better information is the key to being better prepared.”

He further said, “South Asian Countries have started a SAARC Food Bank to service the needs of the member countries in case of any supply shock as a result of calamities or otherwise. There is need to strengthen such regional cooperation instruments to respond to the developing global food crisis. It is our collective responsibility to reach out to those vulnerable populations whose access to food is compromised due to high food prices.”
 

 
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