IGTC participation in IGC Grains Forum: Contingency plans to anticipate shocks

On 20 January IGTC participated in a Grains Forum titled “Grains sector resilience: Contingency plans to anticipate shocks” held by the International Grains Council (IGC), an intergovernmental organization that administers the Grains Trade Convention (GTC) and aims “to further international co-operation in all aspects of trade in grains, to promote the expansion of grains trade, and to secure its freest possible flow in the interests of all members, especially developing members”.
The Grains Forum brought together IGC members and guests from partner organizations such as IGTC. The meeting provided information from around the world regarding specific contingency measures applied in the grains sector, including digital trade, investment in infrastructure, and monitoring and data collection. Participants also discussed ways to anticipate supply chain risks and the private sector’s important contribution to this.
Presentations at the Forum were made in the context of the global COVID-19 crisis, which caused significant disruptions to the global trade system, including sudden changes to consumer demand, and challenges in balancing domestic market requirements with the needs of international markets. Countries, regional and global trade facilitation agencies shared their experiences and plans for implementing contingency plans calling for high levels of preparedness in dealing with shocks facing the grain sector.
IGTC President Gary C. Martin made presentation during the Grains Forum which focused on partnerships for government and trade to advance planning, policy and practice. He highlighted the importance of commercial contingency measures that are in place, and the need to embed day to day realities of cross border trade in working with governments and governmental organizations for the benefit of trade facilitation and global food security.
The IGTC President likewise called for supply chain wide awareness and flexibility which is indispensable to contingency planning and the need to be open to trying out innovative solutions whenever the need arises. He emphasized the need to enhance visibility and control by having an end-to-end timely visibility as well as adopting advanced digital tools like the IPPC e-Phyto Solution which has proven to be effective.
Gary concluded his presentation by highlighting the importance of communication which is often diluted in conversations about contingency planning. He indicated that a clear communication flow would help promote transparency for all stakeholders as well as help in transitioning roles and responsibilities smoothly during a disruption. He indicated that with a clear communication strategy in place, relevant institutions could reach out to different partners in the supply chain quickly. 

Embracing the digital environment and use of common and consistent language and nomenclature was another priority. Therefore IGTC proposed to stakeholders to consider common language for a networking and understanding of options to facilitate trade. IGTC called for stakeholders to welcome consideration of options even if this means advancing or changing current practice.