The United Arab Emirates has pledged $2 billion to help develop a series of “food parks” in India to tackle food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East, a joint statement said on Thursday. The parks would bring farmers, processors and retailers together using advanced climate technology to minimise waste, conserve water and maximise crop yields, focusing at first on crops including potatoes, rice and onions.
The war has disrupted their exports, pushed world food prices to record levels and triggered protests in developing countries already contending with elevated food prices due to COVID-related supply chain disruptions.
Apart from benefiting local farmers, the food parks would help reduce trade barriers and unify food safety standards, Indian foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra said in New Delhi.
They would also provide India with an opportunity to benchmark its perishable food products for global export and allow Indian produce access to the strategic Gulf markets starting with UAE, Kwatra said.
Gulf Arab states import as much as 80-90% of their food and while their oil wealth renders them less vulnerable to rising global food prices than poorer countries in the region, disruptions threaten their supply chains.