UAE announces $2bln investment in India 'food parks' to ease shortages

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JERUSALEM – The United Arab Emirates has pledged $2 billion to help develop a series of “food parks” in India to tackle food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East, the UAE, India, the United States and Israel said on Thursday.

The idea is to bring farmers, processors and retailers together in one place using the latest climate technology to minimise waste, conserve water and maximise crop yields.

The four countries would also advance renewable energy projects in India, they said in a statement.

“U.S. and Israeli private sectors will be invited to lend their expertise and offer innovative solutions that contribute to the overall sustainability of the project,” the statement said.

The announcement came ahead of a virtual summit held by U.S. President Joe Biden with UAE, Israeli and Indian leaders that was set to focus on food security and clean energy amid fears of global food shortages caused by the war in Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine are the world’s third and fourth largest grain exporters, respectively, while Russia is also a key fuel and fertiliser exporter.

The war has disrupted their exports, pushed world food prices to record levels and triggered protests in developing countries already contending with elevated food prices due to COVID-related supply chain disruptions.

U.N. agencies warned this month that the war in Ukraine and climate change could push starvation and mass migration to unprecedented levels.

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Steven Scheer and Nick Macfie)