India, China grapple with grain surplus

China and India, the world's two most populous nations, battled for years to achieve self-sufficiency in food grains. Now, they are suffering from an embarrassment of riches. Delegates from the two nations told a United Nations seminar here this week that their governments were considering changing food management policies to overcome a huge food grain surplus.

The two Asian neighbors, which account for nearly 40 percent of the world's 4.75 billion population, are burdened with problems like storing and transporting surplus grain, they said.

Liu Dongping, a deputy director of China's Commerce Ministry, said his country's grain output rose to a record 407 million tons in 1984 from another bumper harvest of 387 million tons in the previous year.

``We want to change our food composition from food grain to meat, milk, and eggs,'' Liu said.

India's bumper harvests in the past two years stopped a run of food imports during the previous three years.

India's food and civil supplies minister, Rao Birendra Singh, said the government's food grain stocks had already topped 22 million tons. Storage capacity is 20 million tons.

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