The United Arab Emirates has pledged USD 2 billion in helping develop a network of “food parks” in India for tackling potential food shortages in South Asia and the Middle East. The statement was declared at a Jerusalem virtual summit – by leaders of the UAE, India, the US and Israel.
US President Joe Biden said the investment has the potential to “increase India’s food yields in the region three-fold in just five years.” The parks would bring together farmers, food processors and retailers in using advanced climate technology to minimise waste, conserve water and maximise crop yields.
The four countries would also expand and develop renewable energy projects in India, they stated. The projects would be supported by Israeli and US private sectors, Joe Biden mentioned at the summit on food security and clean energy – amid fears of global food shortages as a result of the war in Ukraine.
“The projects we are tackling together on food security and clean energy are designed to take on two of the most urgent crises affecting people around the globe. The UAE investment to develop integrated agricultural parks across India with the support of US and Israeli private sectors has a potential to sustainably increase India’s food yield threefold in just five years,” the US president said.
He also pointed out that India is a major food producer and that the investment should be beneficial to the country’s farmers as well as people who are suffering from hunger throughout the world.
War and climate change may lead to food insecurity
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid added that the crisis in food security is a result of the conflation of climate change and the war in Ukraine, and also the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Food security is going to be the main issue in Africa, in Latin America, in East Asia and in the Middle East. An initiative like the food corridor between India and the UAE is a clear example of a creative solution to a problem we are all facing,” Lapid said.
Russia and Ukraine are the world’s third and fourth largest grain exporters respectively, furthermore Russia is a key fuel and fertiliser exporter. Yet the war has disrupted their exports and pushed world food prices to record levels, triggering protests in developing countries that are already having to contend with elevated food prices as a result of supply chain disruptions caused by COVID.
The negative economic effects caused by the pandemic, along with climate change, food insecurity and volatile energy markets, Biden says, was “made worse by Russia’s brutal and unprovoked attack” on Ukraine.
“All these issues require cooperation and coordination, and none of us can mount a comprehensive response on our own,” Biden notes.
U.N. agencies warned this month that the war in Ukraine and climate change may push starvation and mass migration to unprecedented levels. Gulf Arab states are known to import as much as 90 percent of their food, and while their oil wealth renders them less vulnerable to rising global food prices than poorer countries in the region, such disruptions do nevertheless threaten their supply chains.
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