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India-UAE Food Security Partnership

  • 21 Apr 2023
  • 8 min read

For Prelims: Food security, POSHAN Abhiyaan, Public Distribution System, I2U2 Summit 2022, Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), International Year of Millets.

For Mains: Key Areas of India-UAE Food Security Partnership, Major Challenges to Global Food Security.

Why in News?

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), whose food security has been built on imports from global markets, is now focusing on the twin objectives of food access and readiness to confront supply chain crises.

  • India, the world’s second-largest food producer, is an essential partner in the UAE’s ambition to strengthen food security.
  • The India-UAE food security partnership stands to benefit from multiple points of convergence.

How is India Strengthening its Global Food Security Partnership with UAE?

  • India's Capabilities:
    • Strong Hold on Agri-exports:
      • India has a strong position as a global agri-export powerhouse due to its abundant arable land, favourable climate, and growing food production and processing sector.
    • Humanitarian Assistance:
      • India has also been involved in humanitarian food aid to developing countries, demonstrating its commitment to regional and global food security.
    • Food Parks and Supply Chain Management:
      • India has made significant investments in food parks and modern supply chain management to benefit from bilateral trade agreements, showcasing its intent to excel in the global food marketplace.
    • Government Initiatives:
      • India runs the world's largest food subsidy program, the Public Distribution System, providing affordable grains to nearly 800 million citizens, ensuring access to daily meals.
      • India's POSHAN Abhiyaan' is the world's largest nutrition program for children and women, emphasising the importance of nutrition in food security.
  • UAE's Contribution:
    • Investment:
      • The UAE has committed USD 2 billion in investment towards constructing food parks in India during the I2U2 Summit 2022.
    • Food Security Corridor:
    • Agriota:
      • The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre has launched Agriota, an agri-trading and commodity platform, connecting Indian farmers to the UAE's food ecosystem and enabling direct access to Emirati markets.
  • Significance:
    • Gateway to New Markets for India:
      • The UAE's strategic location between Asia and Europe can serve as India's food export gateway to West Asia and Africa, offering benefits beyond maintaining and diversifying its food reserves.
      • India stands to gain from the UAE's private sector projects, generating non-farm agri-jobs and providing better prices for farmers' products.
    • Template for Global Food Security Partnership:
      • India's G-20 presidency provides an opportune moment to showcase successful strategies and frameworks for food security in the Global South.
      • India can leverage and strengthen trade pathways with the UAE to build a sustainable, inclusive, efficient, and resilient future of food as it sets the global developmental agenda.

What are the Major Challenges to Global Food Security?

  • Menace of Climate Change: The United Nations called out climate change, extreme weather events as the key factors driving growing food insecurity.
    • Increased temperatures, weather variability, invasive crops and pests, and more frequent extreme weather events have detrimental effects on farming – from diminishing agricultural yields, to weakening the nutritional quality of produce on farms, to reducing farmer incomes
  • Volatile Market Pricing: The concept of globalisation has given more openness to agricultural commerce, but it is unable to assure more stable market pricing.
    • The lack of remunerative prices for end goods, distressed sales, high cultivation costs combined with inappropriate market prices act as a barrier in the path of food security.
  • Trade Disruptions: Geopolitical tensions and trade disputes can result in trade disruptions, including embargoes, sanctions, and tariffs, which can impact food trade and affect food prices and availability.
    • This can particularly affect countries that rely heavily on food imports, leading to food shortages and increased food prices, making food less accessible for vulnerable populations.

Way Forward

  • Enhancing Climate Resilience: Investing in climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, such as water management, soil conservation, and climate-smart technologies, can help reduce the impact of climate change on food production and food security.
  • Incentivising Climate Resilient Crops: Investment is needed for the development and distribution of climate-resilient crops that can handle temperature variation and precipitation fluctuations.
    • The governments should incentivise the production of water- and nutrient-efficient crops (such as millets and pulses) and announce a lucrative Minimum Support Price and input subsidies for farmers.
    • The United Nations (UN) General Assembly at its 75th session declared 2023 the International Year of Millets is a significant step in this direction.
  • Agricultural Diplomacy: India can extend its support to other developing countries in Africa and Asia through technology partnerships, joint research in promoting drought resistant crops, promoting climate smart agriculture, thereby establishing India as a major player of Global South.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q.1 In the context of India’s preparation for Climate-Smart Agriculture, consider the following statements: (2021)

  1. The ‘Climate-Smart Village’ approach in India is a part of a project led by the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), an international research programme.
  2. The project of CCAFS is carried out under Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) headquartered in France.
  3. The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India is one of the CGIAR’s research centres.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only 
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (d)

Q.2 With reference to the provisions made under the National Food Security Act, 2013, consider the following statements: (2018)

  1. The families coming under the category of ‘below poverty line (BPL)’ only are eligible to receive subsidised food grains.
  2. The eldest woman in a household, of age 18 years or above, shall be the head of the household for the purpose of issuance of a ration card.
  3. Pregnant women and lactating mothers are entitled to a ‘take-home ration’ of 1600 calories per day during pregnancy and for six months thereafter.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 3 only

Ans: (b)


Q.1 In what way could replacement of price subsidy with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) change the scenario of subsidies in India? Discuss. (2015)

Source: TH

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