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Indian politics

Ministers meet to speed up agriculture reform

By RJ Whitehead , 06-Feb-2013
Last updated on 06-Feb-2013 at 08:47 GMT

All of India’s state agriculture ministers are currently gathering in Delhi to discuss ways to speed up growth of the food production and processing sector. The meeting will be led by Sharad Pawar, the union agriculture and food processing minister.

The assembly comes soon after a call to arms by the Indian president, Pranab Mukherjee, as FoodNavigator-Asia reported this week, to bring reform to the agriculture industry so it can double in production over the next five years.

Strategic agenda

The agenda includes discussions on dairying, fisheries, animal diseases and fodder production. It will also discuss the long-pending draft National Livestock Policy, which is meant to guide sustainable growth for the country’s animal sector, as well as look at strategies for growing India’s fisheries.

There will also be debates on the National Dairy Plan, a mega-programme for the quick development of the dairy sector. Its first phase is to be implemented over the next six years across 14 major milk producing states, which together constitute 90% of the country’s milk production. 

During the meeting, the ministers will also be asked to allocate more funds to agriculture out of the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY). 

Minister busy lobbying

Meanwhile, the minister of state for agriculture and food processing, Tariq Anwar, met a delegation from the German parliament belonging to its food and agriculture committee. 

Anwar used their Delhi visit as an opportunity to court German companies to take advantage of new FDI regulations join Indian food parks. To give boost to food processing sector, the Indian government allows automatic 100% FDI for food processing, agri-products, milk products, and marine and meat products. 

Earlier in the week, the minister met with Greg Selinger, the premier of Canada’s Manitoba province, to solicit “an enduring collaboration with Canada in all spheres of agriculture”.

India’s principal agricultural exports to Canada are frozen shrimps and prawns, cashew nuts, rice, thickeners, cucumber and gherkins. In return, Canada exports pulses to India, with a large percentage of these sourced from Manitoba.

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