India bats for use of public stock for international food aid | India News

NEW DELHI: India is advertising permission to use public stocks cereal for international food aid and prevent food crises, especially on a government-to-government basis.
The move comes as there is a global shortage of key food commodities, including wheat, with some developing countries such as Egypt seeing food scarcity as a major concern. The anxiety of these countries before next month WTO ministerial meetings are sought to be resolved through a package requested by them.
However, Indian officials said the proposal by a group of countries led by Singapore to provide food grain to the UN World food program (WFP) is not accepted as it would limit policy space to address domestic food security concerns. The group does not wish to impose any export restrictions on WFP. Some trade experts have expressed surprise that Singapore is piloting the initiative and suspect that it is being promoted by some developed countries.
“At the WTO, India raised the issue that exports from public warehouses for international food purposes aid or for non-commercial humanitarian purposes, including on a government-to-government basis, should be allowed,” the official added.
Current global trade rules do not allow WTO members to export food grains from public stocks, as they are subsidized and considered market distorting. Officials say India has been helping allies such as Afghanistan and Bangladesh with shortages.
At the ministerial meeting, the government will seek a permanent solution to the problem of holding public shares. Although WTO members have agreed that any breach of the limit on subsidies paid for grain purchases will not be referred to dispute settlement, the government wants the issues around it is resolved, which is being opposed by the US, EU and some other countries.
Furthermore, India stressed that meaningful reform in agriculture must first seek to reduce the disproportionately large subsidies of the developed world and not further increase the disproportion between the rich economies. and growing.

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