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Cabinet clears agriculture export policy to take shipments to $60 billion by 2022

Dec 07, 2018

 Seeking to double agricultural export to $60 billion by 2022, the Union Cabinet on Thursday approved a maiden export policy for the farm sector that imposes no restrictions on export of all organic and processed products.
 
 
However, export policy for primary agricultural products, like onion, would reviewed periodically on a case-to-case basis depending on price-supply situation, said commerce minister Suresh Prabhu  after the Cabinet meet.
 
The policy aims at doubling agricultural shipments to over $60 billion by 2022, he said, adding that achieving the target was doable.
 
He said the farm exports have grown by 20 per cent in a year.
 
Agricultural exports are currently estimated at $30 billion.
 
Prabhu said there was a time when India used to import agricultural products, but now it is exporting in a big way.
 
He rued India had no export policy for agricultural products despite a major producer.
 
Prabhu said the first ever 'Agriculture Export Policy, 2018' would help the government in achieving the target of doubling farmers' income.
 
The policy aims to boost exports of agriculture commodities such as tea, coffee and rice and increase the country's share in global agri-trade.
 
The policy would focus on all aspects of agricultural exports including modernising infrastructure, standardisation of products, streamlining regulations, curtailing knee-jerk decisions, and focusing on research and development activities.
    
Source: Times of india



UAE and India Sign 35 Billion Rupees Currency Swap Agreement

Dec 07, 2018

India and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday signed a currency swap agreement to boost investment and enable direct trade without using dollars or other international currencies.
 
The swap is for 2 billion dirhams or 35 billion Indian rupees ($496 million), depending on which central bank requests the amount, an Indian embassy statement said.
 
The bilateral currency swap agreement between India and the UAE is expected to reduce the dependency on hard currencies like the U.S dollar, the statement said, adding that the two central banks had agreed the deal.
 
While giving a push to the two local currencies, the swap deal would also reduce the transmission costs arising from exchange rate risks, it added.
 
The agreement was signed after the 12th India-UAE joint commission meeting co-chaired by India's External Affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj and the UAE's Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi.
 
Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at around $52 billion in 2017, according to figures from the Indian embassy in the UAE. In 2015, China's central bank extended a currency swap agreement with the UAE Central bank worth $5.54 billion.
    
Source: news18.com



Third round of India-Peru FTA underway in New Delhi; will boost investment and trade

Dec 07, 2018

The third round of talks for the free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the South American nation Peru is taking place in New Delhi, with the bilateral trade touching $ 1.60 bn. Top diplomatic sources confirmed to Financial Express Online that Officers from both countries are meeting for the third round of negotiations in New Delhi until Friday.
 
Since both countries are keen to expand the trade basket between the two especially in the agriculture and earth minerals, early conclusion of this special agreement will help in liberalizing norms for trade in goods and services and deepen their trade and investments.
 
The talks of the special trade agreement with Peru was started in 2017, as has been reported by FE earlier, the two sides have had two rounds of talks earlier.
    
Source: Financial Express



India may partner Japan, US, UAE & Saudi Arabia

Dec 07, 2018

India has decided not only to support development projects in neighbouring Maldives on a bilateral basis but also join hands with USA, Japan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia to develop islands in the key Indian Ocean region. 
 
 
Delhi is expected to announce a financial package during new President Ibu Solih’s December 17 trip to assist Maldives overcome a budget crisis and fund various civilian projects, persons familiar with the issue told ET. 
 
Solih will be in India on his maiden state visit after becoming president based on his ‘India first’ policy. 
 
The Narendra Modi government is also in talks with Washington, Tokyo, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh to join hands for third country projects in Maldives, where in the past five years, China has made huge inroads. While the USA has shown interest to assist Maldives to handle its debt crisis, Japan, which opened an embassy in Male two years back, can partner India in the backdrop of their partnership to ensure free & open Indo-Pacific region. UAE & Saudi Arabia, two rich nations with warm ties with Maldives and India, are also considering partnering for projects in civilian sectors in the archipelago. 
 
While India and the UAE have decided to undertake projects in third countries beginning with Africa, Riyadh and Delhi may also join hands for third country projects given the growing warmth in bilateral partnership. 
 
India and Maldives are hoping to conclude a bilateral investment treaty allowing private investments from here to the neighbouring country. 
 
Delhi will extend support to Solih for infrastructu development in far flung islands of Maldives as Solih eyes reducing dependence on China, indicated one of the persons quoted above. Housing, water, health and sewerage systems in the outlying islands of Maldives are on India’s radar. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Iceland's Foreign Minister arrives in India

Dec 07, 2018

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, arrived in India on an eight-day visit to the country on Friday morning.
 
Thordarson is scheduled to address the Iceland-India Business Seminar at The Oberoi hotel in the city later in the day, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
 
On December 8, the Icelandic Foreign Minister will meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan and hold talks over bilateral issues.
 
Thordarson would then depart for Agra on December 9, where he is slated to attend a programme. On December 10, he would pay a visit to Jaipur to attend an event.
 
On the morning of December 14, the Icelandic Foreign Minister would depart for Reykjavik.
 
India and Iceland have despite the distance and contrast in population size, reached out to each other to build a friendship based on shared values and mutuality of interests. A string of high-level visits since 2000 have imparted a new dynamism to the bilateral relations, sustained by the opening of resident missions (in New Delhi in February 2006 and in Reykjavik in August 2008).
 
Iceland was the first Nordic country to publicly extend support to India's candidature for permanent membership of United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Subsequently, Iceland has reiterated its position on many occasions.
 
    
Source: Business Standard



Farmer groups to get land on priority

Dec 07, 2018

In a bid to make agriculture value chain more robust and make farmers direct stakeholders in agri-business
ventures, the Maharashtra government has asked the state’s industrial development corporation, MIDC to allot land from its pool ‘on a priority basis’ to farmer producer companies (FPCs) to set up manufacturing or commercial units related to farming.
 
Under the scheme, MIDC will give land on a priority basis in C and D zones to FPCs, while the rates will be market-linked. In C zones, the FPCs would have to submit a project report envisaging investment of at least Rs 20 crore and in D zones, the investment threshold is Rs 10 crore.
The objective of the scheme is to encourage investments in backward areas and also promote agricultural allied activities in these areas, sources said.
 
The new initiative, however, fell short of giving free land to set up new mandis, a step which would have complemented the efforts to end the monopoly of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis. Maharashtra had removed fruits and vegetables from the APMC schedule but its prominent APMC mandis like Vashi haven’t since lost their powerful grip over trade since new mandis haven’t come up to give farmers choice of markets. The electronic national agriculture market (eNAM), another initiative of the Narendra Modi government to reform the agriculture market, hasn’t made much headway too.
 
A delegation of FPCs under the banner of MAHAFPC had submitted a list of recommendations to Subhash Desai, minister for industry, a fortnight ago.
According to Yogesh Thorat, MD, MahaFPC, the apex body of FPCs, Both the Centre and state governments are promoting FPOs/FPCs as strategic institutions for boosting the agro-industrial activities. Therefore, there is a need to frame policies for supporting FPO/FPCs.
    
Source: Financial Express



Make use of fruit processing facilities, experts to farmers

Dec 07, 2018

A one-day guava show-cum-seminar was organised today at the Regional Fruit Research Station, Bahadurgarh, by the Department of Fruit Science, Punjab Agricultural University, with the aim of acquainting farmers and fruit growers with the knowledge regarding fruit cultivation and problems associated with the crop. The experts threw light on the research work going on to improve different fruit crops, especially guava. 
 
Chief Guest, Dr BS Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University advised the farmers to produce as well as process fruits so that the problems associated with marketing may be tackled.
 
On this occasion, MIS Gill, Additional Director of Research, PAU, shared the research work and achievements of the Punjab Agricultural University with the audience. 
While starting the technical session, Dr Harminder Singh, Head, Department of Fruit Science, PAU, outlined the importance and scope of guava cultivation in the state. Apart from this, Dr R S Boora, Director, Regional Fruit Research Station, Bahadurgarh(Patiala). 
 
Dr Poonam A Sachdeva shared the nutritional importance and processing potential of guava crop. She also urged the farmers to make use of opportunities and facilities of processing. 
    
Source: Tribune india



Pre-Brexit effect? Indian investment in UK up 321%

Dec 07, 2018

Industry analyses have suggested Indian and other companies have held back on expansion or deferred opening new offices in the UK due to uncertainty over Brexit, but new official figures show investments from India was up 321% in the last year.
 
The figures from the Office for National Statistics show stocks from across Asia have increased by more than 33% in 2017 to £128 billion and stocks from Japan increased by 71% to £78 billion.
 
The greatest growth from any country has come from Indian investors, rising 321% to £8 billion,the department for international trade said.
 
The United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019.
 
Total trade in goods and services (ie exports plus imports) between the UK and India was £19.6 billion in the year to end 2018 Q2, a 20.0% increase from year to end 2017 Q2.
 
This means the UK reported a trade deficit with India of £3.8 billion, compared to a trade deficit of £3.9bn in year to end 2017 Q2, the department said.
 
Of the UK exports to India in the year to end 2018 Q2, £5.2 billion (65.7%) were goods and £2.7 billion (34.3%) were services. Of UK imports from India in the year to end 2018 Q2, £7.8 billion (66.9%) were goods and £3.9 billion (33.1%) were services.
    
Source: Hindustan Times



Agri Minister lays foundation stone for 'kisan haat' in Pusa

Dec 07, 2018

Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh Thursday laid the foundation stone for a 'kisan haat' in Pusa in the national capital.
 
 He also laid the foundation stone for an international hostel at ICAR's Pusa campus. 
 
With a view to encourage and attract youth towards agricultural education and cater to the rising number of students, an international hostel is being constructed, a statement quoted him as saying. 
 
 The hostel, comprising 500 rooms, will be spread across 2 hectares with a built up area of 14,480 sq metres. A food court catering to 600 students will also be constructed in this hostel along with a gym, games and activity room, sitting lodge, covered parking whose roof will be useful for organising cultural events. 
 
Singh said the role of Pusa in the field of education and research at the international level is admirable. 
 
The Pusa Kisan Haat, in ICAR's Agricultural Technology Information Centre (ATIC), will be built across 2.5 acre in which 60 stalls be housed in which farmers can sell their agricultural produce and value-added products. 
 
    
Source: Times of india



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