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Big boost coming for coarse cereals in this ‘Year of Millets’

Jan 22, 2018

 
The Central government has approved 2018 as the ‘Year of Millets,’ said the Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation DV Sadananda Gowda on Friday.
 
The move is expected to help promote millets such as ragi and foxtail millets that are nutrient-rich and can grow with less water.
 
The Central government has approved 2018 as year of millets to encourage its production and boost this sunrise agri industry. We did it on Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishne Byre Gowda’s request, Gowda said at the inaugural of the International Trade Fair (ITF) on organics and millets.
 
He further said that the Centre will offer support under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana to States that are promoting organics and millets.
 
Dietary habits
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramiah stressed the need for raising awareness and promote millets in daily diets due to its nutritional value and ease of cultivation.
 
Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishne Byre Gowda, who has been focussing on promoting millets in the traditionally drought-prone State, said the government hopes to bring about a change in dietary habits and promote a more sustainable future.
 
Boosting organic farming
Karnataka ranks first in the millets production and is the third largest producer of organic foods in the country.
 
The event is showcasing organic crops and millets through exclusive pavilions and stalls of partnering States such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Meghalaya, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Chhattisgarh.
 
Corporate players in millets
Companies such as MTR Foods, Mother India Agro Foods, Nature-Bio Foods, Big Basket and TAFE, besides a host of farmer producer organisations and food-start-ups have set up their stalls at ITF showcasing their products such as millet-based snacks and grains among others.
 
Speaking on behalf of food companies, Varun Berry, Managing Director, Britannia Industries Limited, said the company, which produces over 1.1 lakh tonnes of biscuits annually, has introduced millet-based biscuits.
 
We expect to expand the health biscuit category, Berry said adding that the food industry was supportive of the Karnataka's initiatives in promoting the millets.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Commerce ministry making agri-export policy, says Prabhu at Indus Food

Jan 22, 2018

The ministry of commerce and industry is in the process of formulating an aggressive agri-export policy and will hold consultations with the public and the stakeholders in the next few weeks. This was stated by commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu, who inaugurated Indus Food, a mega international food and beverage tradeshow at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida.
 
Jointly organised by the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, and the Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI), the event, which was one of the largest buyer-seller meets in the country’s food segment, witnessed the participation of almost 400 exhibitors, including representations from over 12 states and departments, and global buyers from 43 nations.
 
During his inaugural address, Prabhu said that the Government of India was working on a strategy for the diversification of India’s export basket in food trade in a bid to enhance its export presence in the top items of world trade and increase the country’s outbound shipments, both in value and quantity.
 
We are working on a marketing strategy to diversify the export basket and we will offer it to the industry. The government is committed to increase the ease of doing business and make India a leading destination for various products and services in the world, he added.
 
The minister said, This trade show is being positioned as the next global food and beverage (F&B) market in the Asian sub-continent after ANUGA, SIAL and Gulfood. This year, we have covered sectors such as processed foods, dairy, fruits and vegetables, meat, seafood, spices, tea and coffee, ingredients, pulses and grains. We aim to include more items in the next edition.
 
My ministry plans to introduce measures with a view to further facilitate the trade in this sector’s products. The government has established 60 fully-equipped Agri-Export Zones (AEZs), in addition to 42 mega food parks and 128 cold chains, to boost agricultural and food processing exports, he added.
 
In other words, there is a great potential to conduct business in India, as it is the centre of South-East Asia as a trading hub in the food and beverage (F&B) sector, Prabhu said.
 
On the government’s efforts to increase farmer’s income, the minister added, Agri-product export strategy will change the export scenario in the country. Not only will it double the farmers’ incomes, but also give them a choice of so many buyers to sell their produce.
 
I am sure it will benefit all farmers, whether big or small. Indus Food is a very good step in that direction, Prabhu said.
    
Source: FNB News



Poland exploring expansion of trade ties with India

Jan 22, 2018

Poland will explore possibilties of commercial coal mining, defence and agricultural products for Indian market to expand partnership and is hoping to host PM Narendra Modi in future. 
 
There is strong demand to look at India with more interest by Polish companies. Areas of interest include agro-products, defence and coal mining, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Marek Magierowski told ET on the sidelines of third edition of Raisina Dialogue that concluded here on Thursday. 
 
India is working on offering coal mining blocks to the private sector for commercial exploitation, which is currently a monopoly with Coal India 
 
Polish technology and machinery have been used by the Indian mining sector extensively. Many Polish companies are exploring opportunities beyond Europe and India is an lucrative option, the Minister said, adding similarly Indian investments are welcome in Poland with a growing middle class and their growing aspirations. 
 
The Minister also hoped that the Indian PM visits Poland to give push to political ties. The last PM level visit to Poland happened way back in 1979. It was only recently that Indian Vice President was in Warsaw.
 
A high level Polish delegation led by the Minister also attended Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) in Kolkata earlier this week. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Modi to attend World Economic Forum annual meeting

Jan 22, 2018

In the first prime ministerial participation from India in two decades, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend this year's World Economic Forum to be held in Davos, Switzerland.
 
WEF is an international body, based in Geneva, Switzerland. It prime objective is to improve the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas
 
The Forum is best known for its annual meeting at the end of January in Davos. The meeting brings together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, economists, and journalists for up to four days to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world.
 
Previously, Indian Prime Minister H.D. Devegowda attended the forum in 1997.
 
 
Explaining the significance of Modi's visit, Vijay Gokhale, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said that in 1997, the Indian economy was well below $1 trillion whereas it is now above $2 trillion.
 
The main event is the keynote speech the Prime Minister will give at the plenary session on January 23, Gokhale said. 
 
There will also be a bilateral engagement with the President of Switzerland and there will be occasions for pull-asides with other leaders as and when these are fixed and depending on the requirements.
 
Gokhale said this visit is going to be a signal that India is engaging with the rest of the world in a very multi-dimensional way. 
 
This is occurring at a time when India's attractiveness as an economy has grown, he stated. 
 
There has been a quantum jump in our rankings in multiple indices and in the context of the recent reforms that the government has announced, particularly in the last one year. The focus, therefore, is for our Prime Minister to articulate his vision of how he sees the Indian economy as contributing not only to the domestic improvement but also on a global scale.
 
Giving details of Modi's programme in Davos, Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, said there will be a dinner on January 22 which will be attended by CEOs of 60 companies.
    
Source: SME Times



China, S Korea turn to India’s organics

Jan 22, 2018

 
Overseas buyers, mainly from China and South Korea are keen to source Indian organic products such as black tea, spices and cashew among other products.
 
There is a growing demand for nuts such as cashews in China and Korea. These countries are keen to source organic cashew nuts, said Jennifer Chang, Vice-President, IFOAM Organics International.
 
Stringent import norms
South Korea is also keen to source organic cotton and turmeric from India. However, the stringent organic import norms of South Korea, which subjects each products to some 377 tests for traces of residues, is seen an impediment.
 
There is a need to create awareness among the producers about the market requirement overseas, besides harmonising the standards, an official from South Korea said on the sidelines of the International Trade Fair (ITF) on Organics and Millets.
 
Miniscule exports
 
The ITF organised by the Karnataka Government has attracted buyer interest from countries such as the US, Germany, South Korea, Uganda, Malaysia and China among others.
 
Organics account for a small fraction of the overall Indian farm produce exports. According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda), India’s certified organic output stood at 1.35 million tonnes including food products — mainly sugarcane, oilseeds, cereals, millets, cotton, spices, tea and coffee among others. Total export volume of organic products stood at over 2.63 lakh tonnes valued at $298 million in 2015-16. The European Union, US, Canada, Switzerland, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asian countries, West Asia, South Africa were the destinations for India’s organic produce.
 
There is a need to build awareness about the Indian organic produce in the overseas markets, especially countries like China, where the demand for organics is rising fast, said Zhou Zejiang, President, IFOAM Organics International-Asia.
 
In China, the demand for organic black tea and coffee is seen increasing and factors such as rising income levels are driving the trend, especially among the middle class population that exceeds over 300 million, Zejiang said.
 
The US has been a huge market for organic spices such as peppercorns, chilli, cumin, garlic and other spices. The Indian produce often fails to pass the tests related to heavy metals. Additionally, there is a lack of awareness about Indian grains such as millets in the international markets, added representatives from the US.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Gujarat wants Nafed to purchase more groundnuts

Jan 22, 2018

Faced with a bumper harvest of groundnut crop, the Gujarat government has urged the Centre to allow additional procurement of 4 lakh tonnes (lt) of the oilseed at MSP level by Nafed, even as agencies flag storage concerns as warehouses across the State are flush with already procured nuts.
 
Nodal agencies have collectively procured about 7.76 lt of groundnut worth Rs.3,495 crore so far. In the next two days, the total target of 8 lt of procurement will be achieved, sources informed.
 
In the wake of the continued higher arrivals, the State government has urged the Central government to allow procurement of 4 lakh tonnes of groundnut, in addition to the current target of 8 lakh tonnes. We believe that our request will soon be approved, said Bharat Modi, Director of Agriculture, Gujarat government.
 
The State government has estimated record bumper crop of the oilseed this kharif season at about 32 lt.
 
Groundnut procurement had started since last week of October 2017 at the support price of Rs.4,500 per quintal.
 
As the arrivals started rising, the number of procurement centres were increased to 253.As on January 18, 137 centres located within APMCs were active.
 
Nafed sources maintained that even if the government wishes to continue with the procurement for additional 4 lt of groundnut, the warehouse facilities have to be made available.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Floor price for onion exports reduced by $150/tonne

Jan 22, 2018

The government has reduced the minimum export price (MEP) of onion by USD 150 per tonne with prices of the kitchen staple moderating. 
 
The MEP for onion, the floor price below which exports are not allowed, has been reduced to USD 700 per tonne from USD 850 fixed in November, as per the commerce ministry. 
 
 
Onion MEP was scrapped in December 2015 but brought back in November 2017 with an aim to check rising prices which were ruling at Rs 50-65 per kg in most cities. 
 
The MEP of USD 850 was applicable till January 20. 
 
Export of onion...shall be permitted only on Letter of Credit (LC) subject to a Minimum Export Price (MEP) of USD 700 per tonne till February 20, the ministry said in a notification. 
 
As per the Price Monitoring Cell of the Department of Consumer Affairs, retail onion prices are ruling at about Rs 40 per kilogram in most cities. However, the key vegetable ingredient was selling at Rs 51 in Delhi and Rs 46 in Delhi. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Mauritius largest source of FDI in India, says RBI

Jan 22, 2018

Mauritius was the largest source of foreign investment in India, followed by the US and the UK, according to a census by the Reserve Bank. 
 
Singapore and Japan were the next two sources of foreign direct investment (FDI), said the Census on Foreign Liabilities and Assets of Indian Direct Investment Companies 2016-17, released by RBI today. 
 
Of the 18,667 companies that participated in the census, 17,020 had FDI/overseas direct investment in their balance sheets in March 2017, it said. 
 
Further, over 80 per cent of the 15,169 companies that reported inward FDI were subsidiaries of foreign companies (single foreign investor holding over 50 per cent of the total equity). 
 
Mauritius was the largest source of FDI in India (21.8 per cent share at market value) followed by the USA, the UK, Singapore and Japan whereas Singapore (19.7 per cent) was the major ODI destination, followed by the Netherlands, Mauritius, and the USA, the census said. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Commerce Ministry wants no price curbs on most farm exports

Jan 22, 2018

 
To establish India as a reliable supplier of agricultural commodities in the global market, the Commerce Ministry is planning to float a proposal for doing away with the practice of imposing export restrictions in the form of minimum export prices (MEP) for non-essential items such as onions, tomatoes and potatoes.
 
The draft Agriculture Export Policy, which will be put up online for stakeholder comments soon, is likely to include a proposal to restrict the application of MEP to a small list of items essential for a person’s survival, such as rice or wheat, as a tool to contain domestic prices. On all other items, the proposal would be to do away with MEP altogether, a government official told BusinessLine.
 
While the decision to do away with MEP for politically sensitive items like onions could be seemingly difficult for the Centre to take, the Commerce Ministry wants to have a discussion around it. The Prime Minister is keen to improve India’s image in the global market. India has to take some tough decisions to make that happen. All stakeholders, including the Ministries of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, would be welcome to give their comments and opinions on the matter, the official said.
 
The Centre imposes MEP on items such as onions and potatoes from time to time when prices in the domestic markets surge; the MEP is intended to prevent prices from spiralling further. Often, the MEP is so high that it effectively acts as a ban on exports as there are no buyers for the commodity at prices above the threshold.
 
If our farm goods exporters are not able to fulfil the commitments towards their buyers because of a sudden imposition of MEP, the buyers are left high and dry. Our exporters risk losing their buyers permanently, the official pointed out.
 
There could be other ways to control rising domestic prices of commodities such as checking cartelisation by traders.
 
Draft policy by next month
The draft Agriculture Export Policy is likely to be made public next month.
 
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu recently said the proposed agri-product export strategy would change the export scenario in the country. It will double farmers’ income and also give them a choice of a large numbers of buyers for their items.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



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