CII Ag-India 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.