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Aussie agri-business delegation engages in food dialogue on India tour
Wednesday, 13 September, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Bengaluru
On its recent tour of India, a 25-member agri-business and food delegation from Australia participated in a session titled, Australia India Food Dialogue. It was organised by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), government of Australia.

The delegation was a part of the 150-member Australian business delegation that visited six cities in India (New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bhopal, Bengaluru and Hyderabad) as a part of the Australia Business Week in India (ABWI) 2017.

The week-long series of activities, which included seminars, roundtables and site visits with Indian industry, was designed to enhance trade, education and investment relationships between the two countries.

The food dialogue featured participation from the representatives of the Indian agri-business and food industry, and the dialogue showcased Australia’s capabilities as a supplier of high-quality food and a provider of services, expertise and technologies in agri-business and food that can increase the efficiency of food value chains in India.

Some of the key discussions at the dialogue included the status of food production, the production trends and emerging varieties of grains and pulses in Australia. It also highlighted the demand trends and outlook for grains, pulses and other food commodities in retail and food processing in India.

It further provided a peek into Australia’s food safety and quality assurance systems, developments and emerging standards in India.

The other focus area that came to the fore are bulk handling and processing, cold storage and India’s bag to bulk storage strategy.

The development of commodity trading in India, including futures trading, is also part of the deliberation.

Some of the key participants at the food dialogue included Luke Hartsuyker, Member of Parliament and assistant minister to Australia’s deputy prime minister; Nick Goddard, chief executive officer, Pulse Australia; Madhavi Das, joint secretary, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI); Nick Poutney, regional manager, Graincorp Limited; Gaurav Sekhri, managing director, Tinna Trade; Peter Schutz, chairman, Food Innovation Australia; Vijay Sardana, head, food security and agri-business, UPL Group; Larry Storm, director, operations, HE Silos Australia, and Vijay Kumar, management consultant, food and agri-business.

Australia has been a long-term food production partner for India. The country’s specialised knowhow, technology and equipment in agri-business and food can contribute to the development of India’s food security capabilities.

These include plant breeding, development of new crop varieties that offer higher yields, pest and disease resistance, drought resistance or adaptation to different regions, environments and growing conditions.

Under farm/cropping management and quality improvement, the usage of new technologies to minimise water usage, improvement in productivity and product quality and on-farm production technologies, such as precision agriculture techniques, are the focus areas.

Grain storage and handling, logistics and supply chain solutions that support the transportation of agricultural produce and food safety are the other areas of interest evinced. In the area of research, education and training, the interest is to lower production costs, increase yields and improve sustainability.

“Australia is an ideal long-term partner for India to help improve the quality, safety, availability and nutritional value of Indian food production,” said Gregory Harvey, trade commissioner, Austrade.

“From farming practices through to food processing, supply and distribution to consumers, the Australian agri-business sector has the research and development (R&D) capacity and technical knowledge to help India’s food industry improve supply chain productivity,” he added.
 
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