The eight member-countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) have started a food bank to collectively face supply shocks following natural calamities or otherwise.
Announcing this, India's Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Monday said such regional cooperation instruments were needed to be strengthened also to respond to the developing global food crisis.
"It is our collective responsibility to reach out to those vulnerable populations whose access to food is compromised due to high food prices," Pawar said, addressing a Asia-Pacific policy consultative meeting organised by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) here.
He said India was actively involved in shaping an information system for a real time analysis of supply, stocks, trade, demand and prices of food grain in different parts of the world.
"We believe that credible information generated by the system would be a valuable input for any policy initiative at the country level should any of the supply, price or trade shocks cause disruption in food availability."
Pawar also highlighted India's role in stabilising global food supplies and moderating price rise.
"From having to import about 6.5 million tonne of wheat in 2006 and 2007 we are now not only meeting the domestic demand but have also begun contributing to global supply through exports."
"Similarly, in case of rice, we faced problems in 2009 as our buffer stocks kept for supplies under public distribution system had dipped due to inadequate production. In the past 12 months, however, due to record production over the years, we have already exported about 8 million tonne of rice."
The exports from India, Pawar said, had not only stabilized the global supplies but had helped in easing the high prices to affordable levels.