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Saarc Food Bank

In pursuance of the decision taken in the 14th SAARC Summit held in New Delhi on April 3-4, 2007, the Heads of States of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation(SAARC) countries have signed the Agreement to establish the SAARC Food Bank. The Food Bank will supplement national efforts to provide food security to the people of the region. The agreement on Establishing the SAARC Food Bank has since been ratified by the President of India on 17th April, 2007. As per this agreement, SAARC Food Bank shall have a reserve of food grains to be maintained by each member states consisting of either wheat or rice, or a combination of both as assessed share of the country.

India's initial assessed share in the reserve was 1,53,200 MTs out of a total share of 2,43,000 MTs. The assessed share is presently kept as 3,06,400 MTs out of a total share of 4,86,000 MTs. The quantum of reserve have been kept in different strategic locations in the designated Godowns of Food Corporation of India (FCI). Joint Secretary(IC), Department of Food & Public Distribution has been designated as Member of SAARC Food Bank Board to represent India. The Board has considered and agreed to the proposal to designate the Central Grain Analysis Laboratory (CGAL), New Delhi as the regional reference laboratory for SAARC Food Bank.

India hosted the 7th SAARC Food Bank Board(SFB) meeting on 10-11, November, 2014 in New Delhi, India. All SAARC Member States except Afghanistan have attended the meeting. Besides, officers from SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu and SAARC Agriculture Centre, Dhaka also attended the meeting. The meeting commenced with the handing over of the Chairmanship from representative of SAARC Food Bank Board from Bhutan to Member of SAARC Food Bank Board, India Shri Ajai Saxena, Joint Secretary, Department of Food & P.D. The meeting inter-alia deliberated the followings issues:

  • Review of the implementation of earlier decision taken at Sixth SFB meeting
  • Godowns /Storage Facilities in Member States
  • Designating Central Grain Analysis Laboratory (CGAL), India as SAARC Foodgrain Testing Reference Laboratory and undertaking capacity building programme for concerned SAARC officials at Institute of
  • Challenges/uncertainty in getting timely information for Food Bank and way out
  • Consideration of matter related to review of the lowering the threshold on withdrawal of food grains.
  • Formulation of working guidelines for operationalization of SAARC Food Bank.

On 11th November, 2014 a field visit to Indian Grain storage Management and Research Institute (IGMRI), Hapur and Food Corporation of India (FCI)'s Godowns was organized for Board Members & SAARC officials to study training facilities as well as storage systems of food grains in India.

Besides, the first training on "Foodgrain testing, Quality control and Scientific storage" for officials of SAARC Member States at Indian Grain Storage Management and Research Institute (IGMRI), Hapur was held from 17-26, November, 2014. Participants from 5 member countries viz. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka attended the meeting apart from four officers from the Indian side.

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