Nearly 90% of the 10 million hectare arable land in Congo is unused

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NewZNew (CII AGRO TECH FEATURE) : Inviting the Indian farming community and food processing industry to explore tremendous Agri & related business opportunities, HE Mr Felix Ngoma, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of Republic of Congo, while addressing the International Conference on ‘World View of India as a Food Basket’ as part of 11th CII Agro Tech 2014 emphasized that “Nearly 90% of the 10 million hectare arable land in Congo is unused, which Indian farmers and food processing industry can really benefit from, and hence India can well be the World Food basket in addition to meeting its own domestic demands”.

 “We are ready to offer all possible support to India. Further, farming is not amongst the favourite occupations there, hence it is an excellent opportunity for the Indian hardworking farmers and in turn the Agri based industry to earn huge profits from the same”, he added.

 “It is however highly imperative for India to invest in R&D, focus on new technologies & latest seeds, ensure better infrastructure, warehousing and transportation facilities to achieve desired levels of productivity”, he further highlighted.

 “Science alone cannot bring sweeping changes in the domestic agro sector. It calls for a critical support by all stakeholders including the state & central governments, scientists, farmers, Agri Universities, industry, institutes to enhance productivity and elevate the conditions of the Indian farmers”, he further added.

 Talking about the emerging business association between Netherlands and India, Mr Cees Bansema, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Netherlands in India was vocal about the fact that “Though India has immense potential, but it needs to enhance its product quality portfolio to get an entry into the European Markets. India can only make a mark for itself in the international market by ironing out bottlenecks in supply chain and logistics management which currently hampers the progress of the agro and agro processing sector in India”.

 “Indian market is still unexplored and offers a lot of opportunities, thus I reckon that India should not compulsively resort to exports, rather aim to strengthen its supply chain and logistics to make the produce reach efficiently to the desired markets”, he informed.

 “Netherlands sees a great opportunity in India because of sustainable consumer growth. We are the 5th largest foreign investor in India. There are almost 50 Netherland based companies which have invested in agriculture sector in India. Substantial consumer growth in India is an attraction for the Netherland companies. Our companies customize the products for India as per the paying capacity and demands to increase our market penetration”, he added.

 Echoing the new-found friendship between India and Japan, Mr Tomoyuki Kuwaharada, First Secretary – Economic Section, Embassy of Japan commented that “Japan is keen to invest in India, especially in the Eastern Coast which has limited cropping avenues. Mr Kuwaharada also suggested a future vision for Indian business to focus upon specific markets before diversifying into an international sphere. We are ready for technology transfers and regular sharing of best practices in supply chain, as we have World’s largest supply chain network, and we are the best in refrigeration and cold chains”.

 Harping upon the growing Indo-Canadian trade partnership, Mr Gurbans Sobti, Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada talked about the similarity in GDP and trade patterns of both the countries.

 “Much like the three pillars of agriculture in Canada: Product Quality, Food Safety and Innovation Culture; India will have to develop its agriculture on the same lines to become globally competitive”, he added.

 Mr Sobti also shared the Canada’s technology sharing agenda with India under which it has set up a National Genetic Bank in New Delhi and a Grain Handling Storage in Kaithal, Haryana.

 Summing up the interactions, session moderator Mr Rajesh Srivastava, Co-Chairman, CII Agro Tech 2014 Conferences & Chairman & Managing Director, Rabo Equity Advisors expressed optimism on the discussion and hoped for a greater international cooperation to take Indian produce to the global market.

 The conference conferred on the market opportunities for Indian producers in the global market, along with the challenges of supply chain & marketing inefficiencies and also discussed ways to address them.