Ensure equity, affordability and accessibility when it comes to food grains: India at UN
India has flagged spiraling energy and commodity prices
Voicing concern over "hoarding" and an "unjustified increase in food prices", India has said that open markets must not become an argument to perpetuate inequity and promote discrimination.
Speaking at the UN Ministerial Meeting on Global Food Security on Wednesday, Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said it was necessary to appreciate the importance of equity, affordability and accessibility when it comes to food grains.
The meeting was chaired by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
"A number of low income societies are today confronted with the twin challenges of rising costs and difficulty in access to food grains. Even those like India, who have adequate stocks, have seen an unjustified increase in food prices. It is clear that hoarding and speculation is at work. We cannot allow this to pass unchallenged," MoS Muraleedharan pointed out.
The global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing conflicts, including in Ukraine, has impacted lives of ordinary people adversely, particularly in the developing countries, with spiraling energy and commodity prices and disruptions in global logistical supply chains, he said.
According to MoS Muraleedharan, the food security challenges emanating from the Ukraine conflict require a creative response.
"To begin with, it is obvious that an early diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine is of paramount importance. India has been consistent in calling for a diplomatic solution through constructive dialogue between the two sides. Prime Minister of India has himself stressed on this aspect in his discussions with the respective leadership," he noted.
"My Government has recognized the sudden spike in global prices of wheat which put our food security and those of our neighbours and other vulnerable countries at risk. We are committed to ensuring that such adverse impact on food security is effectively mitigated and the vulnerable cushioned against sudden changes in the global market," MoS Muraleedharan said in his statement.
In order to manage her own overall food security and support the needs of neighbouring and other vulnerable developing countries, India had announced some measures regarding wheat exports on May 13, the Minister of State said.
"Let me make it clear that these measures allow for export on the basis of approvals to those countries who are required to meet their food security demands. This will be done on the request from the concerned governments. Such a policy will ensure that we will truly respond to those who are most in need," MoS Muraleedharan explained.
According to MoS Muraleedharan, "It is necessary for all of us to adequately appreciate the importance of equity, affordability and accessibility when it comes to food grains. We have already seen to our great cost how these principles were disregarded in the case of Covid-19 vaccines. Open markets must not become an argument to perpetuate inequity and promote discrimination".