FAO Director General calls on Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar

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New Delhi, Apr 9 (UNI) Director General of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Dr Jacqus Diouf, who is on a visit to India to participate in the Global Agro Industries Forum (GAIF), called on Mr Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, here today.

Both the sides deliberated on the importance of agro industrial sector in the economies of developing countries particularly those where agriculture sector is dominant such as India.

Mr Pawar and Dr Diouf shared the view that agro industry can play a very important role not only in bringing about a more inclusive growth but also poverty reduction through increased employment and income. GAIF being organised will ensure sharper focus on development of agro and food processing industries.

Discussions were also held on the world food situation and the increasing prices of food grains in the world.

The DG FAO informed that several factors contributed to higher prices which include low levels of world stocks, especially for wheat and maize following below average harvest in Europe in 2006 and 2007, crop failure in major producing countries like Australia in 2006 and 2007, rapidly growing demand for grain-based biofuel production supported by subsidies, gradual changes in agricultural policies of the OECD countries where reduced level of subsidies have led to lower surplus production, strong economic growth in developing countries and expanding world population.

In addition, agricultural markets are becoming increasingly intertwined with non agricultural markets such as energy, manufacturing, finance etc. Climate change and resource constraints particularly water supply are also influencing overall food supply and demand.

Dr Diouf commended the efforts being made by the Government of India in the field of agriculture and to control prices.

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