Friday, August 28, 2015

U.S.-India Business Council Concludes Food Processing & Food Security Mission

August 28, 2015, New Delhi- The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) concluded a Food and Agriculture Executive Mission to India. The two-day mission in New Delhi  focused on ways to increase investment in food processing and improve food security in India, and ways that industry in both the  U.S and India can work with the central and state governments to achieve mutually beneficially solutions in the food and agriculture sector.  

In meetings with U.S. and Indian Government officials, Council members discussed ways to partner with the Indian government to advance Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" initiative, which calls for greater foreign investment in production and manufacturing in India. The committee also discussed policies that the Government of India could pursue that would enhance foreign investment in the food processing sector, food safety and security, foster innovation, boost the competitiveness of local industry, and increase the speed at which new products are introduced to market.

"The Council's Food and Agriculture member-companies represent every aspect of the farm-to-market supply chain, which affirms the U.S. industry's position as a collaborator with shared interests in advancing India's agriculture economy and food industry," said Siraj Chaudhry, Chairman of Cargill Foods India and Mission Co-Lead. "Through this mission, and through our work in both the U.S. and India, our efforts are focused on enhancing bilateral commercial relations and engaging in a regular dialogue on the topic of agricultural productivity and food security in India." 

Council members were able to connect with government and corporate leaders and reinforce industry's position as a collaborator with shared interests in advancing India's agriculture economy and food processing industry. The delegates held meetings with the Minister of Food Processing Industries, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and the Secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Amitabh Kant. The delegation also had productive discussions with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), presenting FSSAI CEO, Y.S. Malik with a plan for a capacity building program to make the agency more efficient and effective in its mission.

Following the mission, Shilpa Divekar Nirula, CEO, Monsanto India Region and Mission Co-Lead commented, "As India charts its growth journey, agriculture has tremendous potential of being transformed into a vibrant sector contributing to millions of our farmers and to the economy.  This is an opportune time to recognize the needs of our farmers and synergize Central and State Government initiatives with public and private sector investments towards addressing those needs.  Policy impetus and a predictable operating environment for participants will encourage solutions focused on enhancing agronomic practices, managing farm risk, leveraging information technology for capacity building and integrating the value chain thereby contributing to making agriculture productive, efficient, remunerative and sustainable for our farmers"

The mission also featured the first of what may become an annual event- the USIBC - Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) "Dialogue on Strategies to promote Value Addition in Agriculture".  The event, sponsored by YES BANK and Blumberg Grain, focused on ways that U.S. and Indian government and industry can work together to improve the food processing industry in India and featured a discussion on how Indian states have partnered with Industry to promote food processing on a smaller scale.  

Following the dialogue, Mr. Rana Kapoor, Managing Director, CEO and Co-Founder of YES BANK said, "India's economy is predominantly agrarian, with agriculture and allied sectors contributing 18.2% to our GDP (FY 2013-14). Growth in high value agriculture, increased farm productivity and enhanced investments will further boost the sector's contribution. YES BANK and USIBC believe that an efficient agri-marketing infrastructure is vital to facilitate effective price discovery and transaction functions of the rural economy. The Government's proposal to set up a Unified National Market for agri commodities, in close coordination with NITI Aayog and State Governments will promote seamless movement of produce from farm to fork, accelerate growth of the sector and ensure food and nutritional security for all Indians."

About the U.S.-India Business Council: 

Formed in 1975 at the request of the U.S. and Indian governments, the U.S.-India Business Council is the premier business advocacy organization, composed of more than 300 top-tier U.S. and Indian companies advancing U.S.-India commercial ties. The Council is the largest bilateral trade association in the United States, with liaison presence in New York, Silicon Valley, and New Delhi.  

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