labels: agriculture
CII Ag-India 2004 news
Our Economy Bureau
26 November 2004

Mumbai: Rather than competing with each other in the international market, Indian exporters should synergise their efforts and sell their produce under one ''brand India,'' says Stuart Symington, CEO, ''fresh produce exporters forum'' (FPEF), South Africa. Symington was speaking at Confederation of Indian Industries'' Ag-India 2004, which got under way in Mumbai today.

"Strategic co-operation, understanding the value chain, being research driven and bringing organization in the functioning of the sector — these are the principles that India needs to adopt," Symington said.

According to K S Money, chairman, ''agricultural and processed food products export development authority'' (APEDA), with the WTO negotiations entering a crucial phase, it is just a matter of time before protection to agriculture gives way to a drastic reduction in subsidies.

Therefore, the agricultural sector must infuse professionalism in and gear up to take on global competition, he said, and added, "The government''s role should be limited to being only a facilitator and the business of agriculture should be run by the private sector."

Though the WTO era will throw up new challenges, India, with its abundant resources and a professional approach, has the potential to become a global player in the agricultural sector. "After the green revolution in the 60s, this is the most crucial time in the history of Indian agriculture and the country is on the verge of another green revolution," he declared.

He cited the example of farmers in Kerala who took to vanilla cultivation when vanilla prices had shot up in the international market, saying globalism would also afford Indian agriculture with new opportunities.

Kairas Vakharia, chairman of CII-Western Region''s ''agri-business committee'' said that the dynamics of agriculture have changed and the sector today requires an ''industrial'' approach.

Meanwhile, addressing the gathering of over 150 members of the agricultural sector, Arnold Parzer, the counsellor for agriculture, Netherlands embassy, pointed at the huge potential that India has — despite being the largest producer of fruits and vegetables, India''s share in the world trade today is only nine per cent.

Netherlands, on the other hand, with just two million hectare of land compared to India''s 142 million, has agricultural trade of $55 billion and is counted among the top three exporting countries in the world. "The secret of success is value addition. Professional chain management from the ''seed to the plate'' and high quality standards will yield the right results for the India," Parzer added.


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CII Ag-India 2004