FM at G20: “Let India export foodgrains from public stockholdings”
FM at G20: “Let India export foodgrains from public stockholdings”

NEW DELHI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday asked World Trade Organisation (WTO) to permit India to export foodgrains from its public stockholding to nations which are encountering food crisis.

The FM was addressing at a seminar on 'Strengthening global collaboration for tackling food insecurity' on sidelines of the third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

As per WTO regulations, countries are not permitted to export foodgrains from their public stock holdings as they are procured at subsidised rates. "WTO restraint that grains so procured cannot be brought to the market to export. It is a condition which exists from the Uruguay Round days. We have frequently said that surplus than what we have for our small farmers...we are quite willing to trade," finance misister said. She said that India can help in reducing hunger or food insecurity but there is a hesitation on the part of WTO. Many countries in the world are currently facing food shortage due to ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. A group of about 70-80 countries, led by Singapore, is pushing member countries of the WTO to accept binding commitments of not extending export restrictions on the foodgrains procured under the United Nations World Food Programme.

She said food, fuel, and fertilisers were global public items, and ensuring access to these for developing and emerging economies was crucial. She said there was an urgency to strengthen food production and global food system.

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