India has proposed a free trade deal with New Zealand in a bid to shore up food supplies.

Preliminary talks were held earlier this year between the two countries about an agreement, which has become a priority for India, with the country facing shortages of foodstuffs including wheat and rice.

New Zealand agriculture minister Jim Anderton has welcomed India’s proposal, claiming that New Zealand has high quality producers to meet demand.

Earlier this year, New Zealand encouraged India to import its wine, dairy and timber products in order to increase the bilateral trade between the two countries to more than NZ$616m (US$465m).