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New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration: “Food prices off peak, but volatile”

While committing to support developing countries in dealing with food security challenges, the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration on Saturday expressed commitment to facilitate open, fair, predictable and rule-based global agriculture, food and fertiliser trade.

The summit declaration also agreed against imposition of any export ban or restrictions which create market distortions as per the WTO rules.

It appealed for ‘unimpeded deliveries of grains, food and fertilisers from Russia and Ukraine’ following theTurkey and UN-brokered Istanbul agreement between Russia and United Nation on reviving the Black Sea grain deal.

Russia-Ukraine conflict since last year had disrupted the fertiliser and food grains supplies globally and Russia recently decided against renewing black sea grain deal.

India, as one of the largest producers of foodgrains, had banned wheat exports last year and put bans or export taxes on the several varieties of rice, in order to increase domestic supplies.

The New Delhi leaders’ declaration agreed to enhance global food security and nutrition for all in line with the G20 Deccan High-Level Principles on Food Security and Nutrition 2023.

The global meet agreed on strengthening research cooperation on climate-resilient and nutritious grains such as millets, quinoa, sorghum, and other traditional crops including rice, wheat and maize.

India’s push for millet initiative called Maharishi – Millets And Other Ancient Grains International Research Initiative could not be included in declaration because of opposition from few member countries. Aimed at building a sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture system, the summit declaration also agreed upon accelerating innovations and investment which are focused on increasing agricultural productivity, reducing food loss and waste across the value chain, and improving marketing and storage.

It emphasized on the importance of increasing access to, availability and efficient use of fertilizers and agricultural inputs aimed at promoting production of soil nutrients at the local levels.

It is also agreed upon to strengthen the agricultural market information system (AMIS), an inter-agency platform launched following the global spike in food prices during 2008-2010. The declaration decided to support the AMIS, based in Rome, which currently focuses on wheat, maize, rice and soybeans to include fertilizers, vegetable oils, and for enhancing collaboration with early warning systems.

Strengthening the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring, for enhancing collaboration with eearly warning weather system was also agree upon in the summit.

“While global food and energy prices have fallen from their peak levels, the potential for high levels of volatility in food and energy markets remains, given the uncertainties in the global economy,” according to the new G20 declaration.

In 2011, the Agriculture Deputies Group, was created during France’s G20 presidency to deal with volatility in global food prices. It has emerged as a key forum to enhance cooperation among G20 members on food security and nutrition due to challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine conflict in recent years.

The aspect of ‘agriculture and food security’, and especially the threat of climate change on food production appeared for the first time on the G20 agenda in the Pittsburgh summit in 2009.

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