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S America emerging as imp destination for India’s food security

H Siddiqui

June 30, 2018
New Delhi: India would stand to gain by seeking collaboration with South American nations in technologies relating to its food security .
Among many others, these countries have got latest technologies for manufacture of silo bag to reduce storage losses .
There have been several high level visits to the region in the last few months to countries including, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru amongst others seeking new technologies for farming, farm mechanisation and livestock and fisheries.
In countries like Argentina and Brazil, India has been keenly looking at contract farming opportunities. Infact, India, which imports huge quantity of agricultural produce including edible oil and pulses, has been looking at these countries for meeting its growing requirements. And on the other hand countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua and Cuba have also sought India’s technical knowhow in agriculture along with request for grain exports.
Sharing his views, Simmarpal Singh, CEO, Louis Dreyfus Company, India, said, “India would stand to gain from technology exchange in the field of agriculture. I think if the contract farming law comes in the right shape and form and the land reform act also enables easy leasing and financing of farming, technology from the countries like Argentina can actually be adapted for the smaller sizes of Indian farming.”
Before moving to his current role, Singh was head of operations in Argentina for Olam International, one of the international commodities giant and was popularly known as King of Peanuts, says there is a possibility of synergies in the Agriculture sector in the region.
“I don’t think contract farming will work with a farming association as an entity. It has to be more corporate driven as the risks can be better managed. There is the possibility of certain crops like barley which are going into malt etc being attractive targets for contract farming in South America for integrating with the value addition process in India specially where brands have a special linkage with certain genetic material which is not grown in India.”
In the recent months there has been an import of exotic products from the region coming into India. And these products are expected to create an opportunity for the Indian Agriculture sector
The assumption here is that if the same product can be grown here once the market has been established, it is the most risk balanced entry into new products.
The government of Brazil has offered to conduct “captive farming” of pulses to meet the growing demand in India.
According to Jorge Castaneda, ambassador of Peru to India, “Both countries are celebrating 55 years of diplomatic relations. We are working together to ensure that the trade agreement being negotiated is concluded and ready to be signed by next year.”
“In the agro business sector, there are regulations that both sides have to follow. However, discussions are going on between the two countries to get potatoes and mangoes to the Indian market. Also, we are planning to get citrus fruits in India. Quinoa, grapes and avocado from Peru are in the Indian market,” the Peruvian envoy added.
While small countries like Ecuador are keen on cooperating with India in fishery, aquaculture, forestry, mining, tourism and services and has a favourable legislation on foreign investment, Bolivia has already extended its support to India’s stand on food security at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and is willing to open its commodities sector to investment by Indian entities, especially in the area of high-value agriculture produce.
Although household penetration for fresh blueberries remains low in India, Chile has signed a commercial agreement with India aimed at helping facilitate greater blueberry and avocado exports to the country. The principal objective is to generate new contacts with importers, distributors and retail chains, and to spread the word about the new export agreement between Chile and India.
There are important opportunities for Chilean blueberries in India, according to Carolina Vasquez, ProChile director in New Delhi. “For berries, and blueberries in particular, we see growth opportunities in the medium term since the fruit is fairly new to the market,” said Ms Vasquez.