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India will continue to export food grains to vulnerable countries

India's grain diplomacy could be a game changer

India will continue to export food grains including wheat and rice to vulnerable countries that seek New Delhi’s assistance as part of humanitarian assistance. Even as the restrictions on outbound shipment continue, India last month approved shipment of broken rice to Senegal, Gambia and Indonesia after requests came in from these three countries. India has also been sending wheat to crisis-hit Afghanistan.

The grain diplomacy will help position India as a key player in global food security space, which currently is facing acute challenges due the shifts in geopolitics and the Russia-Ukraine war.

India has also sent food grains to other countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Israel, Indonesia, Malaysia among others.

With monsoons now covering almost the entire country, concerns over a possible El Nino situation have somewhat eased. However, the delay has led to significant rise in food prices in India. Challenges related to climate change have been rising not just in India and South Asia but the world over. This has also caused worries over global food supplies.

More than 60 per cent of the rice sowing in India, which supplies about 40 per cent of the global rice requirement, takes place during the Kharif season which commences with the onset of the monsoon and harvested around November. The remaining production of rice takes place during the Rabi cycle in the winter months.

Last month Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the G20 Agriculture Ministers’ summit said that India will not only be the voice of the Global South but was ready to play a crucial role in maintaining global food security amid rising climate risks while taking a lead role in charting out new dynamics.

India, the largest exporter of rice in the world, has been actively providing food grains to several vulnerable countries as part of its humanitarian assistance programme.

In the July to June period of 2022-23– the country’s crop year, food grain production rose 5 per cent to a record 330.53 million tonnes driven by increased output of rice and wheat.

Also read: Heavy rains damage large swathes of crops in China leading concerns over food security