India, China sign food security pact
March 26, 2010

Han Changfu and Sharad Pawar, Agricultural ministers from China and India met their BRIC counterparts in Moscow today to discuss ways of enhancing global food security by improving distribution channels and eliminating the negative consequences of climate change on agriculture. The meet comes two days prior to the first Global Conference on Agriculture Research for Development in Montpellier, France.

During the day long summit, the ministers signed a pact to create a joint agricultural information base that will help each country calculate production and consumption balances and establish national grain reserves. Besides exchanging vital information, the ministers also agreed to share experiences of providing food to vulnerable populations and victims of natural disasters as well as swapping agricultural technology to help reduce the effect of climate change on food production, in order to learn from each others experiences.

Agriculture plays a vital role in the economics and politics of China and India. Both traditionally agrarian economies, have over the last few years of opening their economies moved towards a more secondary and tertiary economy. Nonetheless, agriculture continues to be the engine of inclusive and accelerated economic growth and livelihood security in both nations. While factories have replaced farms, drought and food inflation is aggravating hunger and causing demographic divides. The summit, a joint understanding between the nations, is therefore an attempt to make sure that Asian staples such as rice, wheat, sugar and pulses don’t vanish from tables.

According to the United Nations, Russia and Brazil, can become important grain suppliers in the years to come. Summarizing the importance of the BRIC nations in global food security, a ministry report said the BRIC group has 32 percent of the world’s arable lands, it produces 40 percent of the world’s wheat, half of its pork, a third of poultry and beef, and their joint GDP was equal to 22.4 percent of the world’s total in 2008.

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