November 6, 2008
Construction of grain reserve agreed on by 8 Asian countries
Eight South Asian countries have agreed to create a 243,000-tonne strategic grain reserve to meet any sudden spurt in demand in the region, according to India's farm minister Sharad Pawar.
India will contribute 153,000 tonnes of grains, Pakistan and Bangladesh will provide 40,000 tonnes each and other countries will put aside smaller amounts, Pawar said.
The food bank will have 243,000 tonnes capacity to begin with which will be scaled up gradually.
Forty percent of the world's poor live in this region, and the idea behind the food bank is to meet any sudden rise in demand due to a natural calamity or any other eventuality.
Pawar said SAARC countries would be able to buy grains from the strategic reserves at free-on-board prices. The store would be operational from 2009.