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Amid droughts, Europe may have to source more food from India

Pakistan is staring at a food crisis

Will the intense heatwave and droughts in Europe affect its food security at a time when it is already struggling with acute energy shortage? The continent that has been largely food secured, is currently staring at a brewing crisis as rivers in several parts of the continent are drying up due to the excessive heatwave, damaging crops and aquatic life. Sources said that while the deepening economic crisis in Europe is a matter of “grave concern” India’s exports of food items into the continent could increase.

Though the European market is mostly highly regulated with stringent standards set particularly on food items, it could resort to India even as New Delhi has come under the spotlight for imposing sudden export bans on grains and other agro-products due to rising domestic prices.

“This is an opportunity for India to position itself as the world’s food provider and the authorities must rise to the challenge. Food export policy must be carved out carefully avoiding knee jerk reactions from time to time,” an analyst with a research firm told India Narrative.

According to official data, exports of agricultural and processed food products in April-June period of the current financial year jumped by 14 per cent against the corresponding period in the previous year.

For the ongoing financial year, the government has set an export target of $23.56 billion for the agricultural and processed food products basket.

Meanwhile, India’s seafood exports for the same period this year have also risen by 15 per cent compared to the corresponding period, touching $1.99 billion. In 2021-22 too, the total exports of seafood rose by 30 per cent to touch $7.76 billion.

India’s agricultural products exports during 2020-21 rise by almost 20 per cent at 19.92 touching $50.21 billion.

The Russia-Ukraine war and the climatic changes have pushed up global food prices. The United Nations has already warned that an estimated 1.6 billion people in 94 countries are now exposed to either the food, energy or finance crises following the war.

Besides food items, exports of low value goods from India to Europe are likely to rise too. Until now, most of the low value items which also include fast moving consumer goods such as soaps and shampoos were being sourced into Europe from China.

“The economic crisis in Europe will somewhat affect India but at the same time, our exporters may see a surge in demand for products, which are of a different kind, especially at supply strains have hit the world with China’s zero Covid policy” Ajay Sahai, director general and CEO, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said.

Also read: The rise of King coal as energy crisis hits Europe

After the Ukraine war, is Europe now staring at a food crisis?