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President of India in Jamaica; holds bilateral meetings with governor General, Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition.

May 18, 2022

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, landed at the Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica in the evening of May 15, 2022, where he was received by Governor General of Jamaica, H.E. The Most Hon Sir Patrick Allen, Prime Minister of Jamaica, H.E. Andrew Holness and other dignitaries. The President was accorded a guard of honour on his arrival. This is the first ever visit of an Indian President to Jamaica which is taking place in the 60th anniversary year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
 
Yesterday (May 16, 2022), the President commenced his engagements by visiting the National Heroes Park in Kingston to pay his tributes to Marcus Garvey. Subsequently, he visited King’s House- the official residence of the Governor General of Jamaica - to meet Governor General Sir Patrick Allen. During the discussion, the President thanked the Governor General for the warm welcome and hospitality. The two leaders discussed bilateral cooperation in the field of IT and related services, medical and pharma sector, sports and education, tourism and hospitality industry and development partnership.
 
The President noted that there is steady growth in bilateral trade and economic and commercial interactions between India and Jamaica despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that there is still scope for increased trade and investment, particularly in the sectors such as IT and IT Enabled Services, medical and pharma sector, education and capacity building, tourism and hospitality industry, agriculture and infrastructure projects.
 
Speaking about development partnership and education between the two countries, the President said that India remains steadfast in its commitment to share its experience, knowledge and skills acquired in its development journey, with fellow developing countries such as Jamaica. Our development partnership activities are firmly rooted in the concept of South-South Cooperation and based on the principles of voluntary partnership in line with national priorities of our partners. We are glad to assist in capacity building and skill development in Jamaica through the courses in various esteemed educational institutions under the India Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme. India is happy to offer an increase in ITEC slots from 30 to 50.
 
After the meeting with the Governor General, the President travelled to Jamaica House where he was received by Prime Minister Andrew Holness. The two leaders discussed enhancing cooperation between India and Jamaica in trade and investment, service, health, railway and transport services and sports as well as cooperation in regional and multilateral fora.
 
The President said that there is huge potential for collaboration in the service sector and knowledge economy between the two countries. He was happy to note Jamaica’s interest in collaboration in the field of education, especially among educational institutions. He said that India welcomes Jamaica’s interest in hosting a branch of an Indian educational institution in one of its universities.
 
Following the meeting, the President and Prime Minister Holness witnessed the signing and exchange of an MoU between Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service (SSFSI) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica on cooperation in the field of diplomatic training. This MoU will also facilitate close academic and training exchange for Foreign Service officers of Jamaica in the SSFSI.
 
Subsequently, the President visited Downtown Kingston where he inaugurated Ambedkar Avenue in presence of Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, Mayor of Kingston city, His Worship Delroy Williams and members of the Indian community.
 
In his brief remarks on the occasion, the President said that Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar introduced progressive ideals for the social and economic empowerment of the depressed classes in the Constitution. He educated and inspired the people for the goal of removing inequality.
 
The President said that some people may wonder about the relevance of Dr Ambedkar to Jamaica. Let us always remember that icons like Dr Ambedkar and Marcus Garvey cannot be limited to just one nation or community. Their message of equality of all, and their appeal to end all forms of discrimination has universal resonance. Therefore, Dr Ambedkar’s message is as relevant in India as it is in Jamaica.
 
In his next engagement, the Leader of Opposition in the House of Representatives, Hon. Mark Golding called on the President.  During the discussion, the two leaders exchanged their views on bilateral cooperation and encouraging cultural contacts and people-to-people ties. 
 
Later in the evening, the President visited the Hope Botanical Garden in Kingston where he inaugurated the India-Jamaica Friendship Garden and planted a sapling of sandalwood in presence of First Lady of Jamaica, Lady Allen who is the Patron of the Garden, Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. and Chairman of the National Preservation Foundation, Mr. Alfred Thomas.
 
In the final engagement of the day, the President attended the Indian Community and friends of India Reception hosted by Shri Masakui Rungsung, High Commissioner of India to Jamaica.
 
Addressing the gathering, the President said that Jamaican-Indians strengthen the deep root of our cultural linkages and enrich our multifaceted partnership. The Indian diaspora is a living bridge between our countries. It is a matter of pride for us that members of the Indian diaspora are recognised at the highest levels for their contribution to Jamaica. We are very proud of the achievements of the Indian community in Jamaica.
 
The President said that India is celebrating 75 years of India’s independence and the glorious history of its people, culture and achievements through ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’. He urged members of the diaspora to come forward and join in the celebration.
 
The President said that we are undertaking efforts to take lead in the areas of digital economy, new technologies, climate change related action and marking the contours of a knowledge society. This new India offers immense opportunities for diaspora to participate in its progress and prosperity. We seek our diaspora’s support for this new India that promises to light up millions of homes with progress and prosperity; an India that cares for one and all.
 
On the occasion, the President presented cricket kits to Jamaica Cricket Association which was received by President of the Association, Mr Billy Heaven.
    
Source: pib.gov.in



Government announces some relaxation in wheat export notification; Allows wheat consignment already registered with Customs prior to the order.

May 18, 2022

The government has announced some relaxation to its order dated 13th May issued by Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Department of Commerce on restricting wheat exports. It has been decided that wherever wheat consignments have been handed over to Customs for examination and have been registered into their systems on or prior to 13.5.2022, such consignments would be allowed to be exported.
 
The government also allowed a wheat consignment headed for Egypt, which was already under loading at the Kandla port. This followed a request by the Egyptian government to permit the wheat cargo being loaded at the Kandla port. M/s Mera International India Pvt. Ltd., the company engaged for export of the wheat to Egypt, had also given a representation for completion of loading of 61,500 MT of wheat of which 44,340 MT of wheat had already been loaded and only 17,160 MT was left to be loaded. The government decided to permit the full consignment of 61,500 MT and allowed it to sail from Kandla to Egypt.
 
The Government of India had earlier restricted wheat exports to manage the overall food security situation in India and to support the needs of neighbouring and vulnerable countries that are adversely affected by the sudden changes in the global market for wheat and are unable to access adequate wheat supplies. According to this order, this restriction would not apply in cases where prior commitments have been made by private trade through Letter of Credit as well as in situations where permission is granted by the Government of India to other countries to meet their food security needs and on the requests of their governments.
 
The order served three main purposes: ensure India’s food security and check inflation, it helps other countries facing food deficit, and it maintains India’s reliability as a supplier. The order also aimed to provide a clear direction to the wheat market to prevent hoarding of wheat supplies.
    
Source: pib.gov.in



India and Africa must respond to uncertain world: Jaishankar.

May 18, 2022

NEW DELHI: India and Africa must respond to the 'volatile and uncertain' world and important lessons can be learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic and knock-on effects of the Ukraine conflict, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday. In an address at a book release event, Jaishankar said development partnership and capacity building is at the core of India's relationship with the African continent and it speaks for New Delhi's shared desire of developing together as 'equals'.
 
He said India was 'very conscious' of the expanding threats of radicalism, fundamentalism and terrorism to African societies and both sides have been cooperating in dealing with the challenges.
 
'Today, our ties too must respond to the volatile and uncertain world that we confront,' he said.
 
'There are important lessons to be learnt from the pandemic disruption. The stresses from the knock-on effects of the Ukraine conflict are also relevant,' Jaishankar said.
 
Highlighting India's development partnership with the African continent, he said the 'difference that we have made to the hard and soft infrastructure is something of which we can be justifiably proud'.
 
'To date, India has completed 189 projects in Africa, with 76 at the execution stage and 68 today at the pre-execution stage. Financed by lines of credit with an outlay of over USD 12 billion, they extend to over 41 countries,' he said.
 
The external affairs minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not only brought new thinking and energy into the ties but also devoted a much higher degree of attention, resources and capabilities to this account.
 
Referring to India-Africa trade cooperation, Jaishankar said the story on this front is also an encouraging one.
 
'India is today the fourth largest partner for Africa registering trade of USD 69.7 billion during 2018-19. This has obviously been impacted during the Covid years but we are expecting a strong recovery,' he said.
 
In terms of investment, India ranks fifth with a cumulative commitment of USD 70.7 billion in Africa, Jaishankar said.
 
'Indian industry has made sizeable commitments in oil and gas, mining, banking, textiles, automotive and agriculture, etc,' he said.
 
Jaishankar also touched upon expanding defence cooperation between the two sides, especially in the maritime security sphere.
 
'Given our proximity, it is also natural that our cooperation would extend to the domains of defence and maritime security,' he said.
 
The external affairs minister noted that India was associated with the establishment of defence institutions in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
 
'Our military training teams have worked with their counterparts in Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, Tanzania, Mauritius and Seychelles,' he said.
 
'Our growing maritime security cooperation is centred around Mauritius and Seychelles, but now extends to coastal African nations as well,' he added.
    
Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com



Hope India will lift wheat export curbs after UNSC meet: US.

May 18, 2022

The US is hopeful that India will drop its restrictions on wheat exports after listening to other countries at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) about a looming food crisis, said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US permanent representative to the UN.
 
'India will be one of the countries participating in our meeting at the Security Council, and we hope that they can, as they hear the concerns being raised by other countries, that they would reconsider that position,' Thomas-Greenfield said on Monday, previewing the US initiatives on food security in the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
 
Answering a reporter's question on India restricting wheat exports, she said: 'We're encouraging countries not to restrict exports because we think any restrictions on exports will exacerbate the food shortages.'
 
Meanwhile, China has come to India's defence after G7's criticism over the decision to regulate the export of wheat, saying that blaming India would not solve the global food crisis.
 
A growing food security threat has pushed India into a conundrum: continue sending wheat to countries hit by dwindling supplies from the war in Ukraine or stockpile food at home to fend off high inflation. On the other hand, severe heat waves have damaged wheat yields across the country. Here’s what it means for the world grain markets. 
 
An editorial published in China's state-run Global Times said: 'Now, the agriculture ministers from G7 urge India not to ban wheat exports, then why won't G7 nations themselves move to stabilise food market supply by hiking their exports?'
 
It added: 'Although India is the second largest wheat producer in the world, it accounts for only a small part of global wheat exports. By contrast, some developed economies, including the US, Canada, the EU and Australia, are among major exporters of wheat.'
 
Russia and Ukraine accounted for nearly 30% of the global wheat exports and the war has disrupted the supplies.
 
India on its part issued a statement last weekend where it said the decision to restrict wheat exports would help control food prices and strengthen the food security of India and countries facing a deficit, and that India remained a reliable supplier as it was honouring all contracts.
 
Speaking at a press conference along with food and consumer affairs secretary Sudhanshu Pandey and agriculture secretary Manoj Ahuja, commerce secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said all export orders where the letter of credit had been issued would be fulfilled.
 
He said directing wheat exports through government channels would not only ensure fulfilling the genuine needs of our neighbours and food-deficit countries, but also help control inflationary expectations.
 
The US, which is the Security Council's president for May, has urged for 'Days of Action for Food Security'. During those programmes, the US will be 'identifying those countries who are willing and able to open up their own silos to fill that gap', Thomas-Greenfield said.
 
On Wednesday, US secretary of state Antony Blinken is convening a global ministerial meeting of foreign ministers to address food security, nutrition and resilience, she added. Blinken will also preside over an open debate in the council on Conflict and Food Security on Thursday.
    
Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com



Government relaxes wheat export ban, allows 1.67 lakh tonnes to be loaded.

May 18, 2022

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on Tuesday allowed 1,67,211 tonnes of wheat to be loaded on four partially loaded vessels at Kandla port after the department of commerce partially relaxed the ban on exports earlier in the day.
 
Traders say the relaxations in the May 13 order banning the export of wheat is likely to allow 400,000-500,000 tonnes of grain stranded at the ports to be shipped out quickly.
 
They expect at most another 300,000 tonnes of wheat to be exported under the exemption provided by the government to quantities already contracted against a letter of credit (LC), which will take the total export to about 800,000 tonnes after the ban.
 
The four vessels allowed additional wheat already had 80,368 tonnes loaded before the ban on May 13. MV XIN YI HAI will carry 55,000 tonnes to Brazil; MV JAG RADHA 57,000 tonnes to Bangladesh; MV VALLIANT SUMMER 66,000 tonnes to Oman; and MV PHAEDRA 69,579 tonnes to Indonesia.
 
They say this is not enough to clear all the trucks stranded at ports or warehouses and have sought government intervention, adding that exports were contracted on cash against delivery basis.
 
According to trade estimates, only 20-25% of the total wheat export contracts are expected to have been signed against the LCs.
 
'We have requested a meeting with the commerce minister to get clearance for all the cargo that is stuck in transit,' said Rajesh Jain Paharia, a trader from Delhi.
 
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has started collating data on the total quantum of wheat for which LCs have been issued by different banks as also the quantity of wheat for which registration has been done with the Customs before May 13.
 
On Tuesday, the department of commerce allowed some relaxation in its May 13 notification banning exports. It said wheat consignments already handed over to Customs for examination and registered into their systems before May 13 would be allowed to be exported.
 
Also following a request from Egypt government, a wheat consignment headed for the country that was already under loading at the Kandla port will be allowed.
    
Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com



Wheat importers in Asia scramble for supplies after Indian export ban.

May 18, 2022

Wheat importers in Asia were scrambling to find new sources of supply on Monday after India banned exports of the grain at the weekend in a bid to keep a lid on soaring domestic prices, trade sources told Reuters.
 
Importers, especially those in Asia, were banking on wheat from India, the world's second-biggest producer, after exports from the Black Sea region plunged following Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
 
Russia and Ukraine jointly account for about 30% of global wheat exports. Ukraine's exports are severely hampered because the war has forced it to close its ports, while Russia's exports have been hit by Western sanctions.
 
 
'Asian importers are likely to be in deep trouble. India was the Ukraine/Russia alternative especially for feed wheat. (They are) already today casting around for alternatives,' said a Europe-based wheat trader at a global trade house.
 
He said importers in Asia were even looking to buy more Russian wheat despite payment problems linked to sanctions on Russian banks and elevated shipping insurance premiums.
 
Benchmark wheat futures in Chicago jumped by their 6% limit on Monday as markets reacted to the surprise ban, which came just days after New Delhi said it was targeting record wheat shipments of 10 million tonnes this year.
 
Its policy reversal now means only exports backed by letters of credit (LCs), or payment guarantees, issued before May 13 can proceed.
 
That equates to only about 400,000 tonnes, industry sources told Reuters, adding that 1.8 million tonnes is now trapped at the country's ports.
 
Traders holding that wheat face heavy losses because they will have to cancel their export deals and resell onto a weakening domestic market.
 
'It started already this morning. Traders (who don't have LCs) had to announce cancellation of contracts. I'd assume from mid-June there will be no more (India) shipments,' said a second Europe-based wheat trader.
 
India's export ban, prompted by a heatwave that has cut harvest prospects and pushed domestic prices to a record high, also comes amid output issues in traditional export powerhouses Canada, Europe and Australia.
 
Traders say the ban could drive global prices to new record peaks, hitting poor consumers in Asia and Africa particularly hard.
 
Top destinations for Indian exports include Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal and Turkey, and top global wheat buyer Egypt recently agreed to make a first ever purchase of Indian wheat.
 
That deal is officially still on the cards as India has said it will still allow exports to countries that request supplies 'to meet their food security needs', but market experts are sceptical.
 
'There's uncertainty over how much will be exported to countries India considers having food security needs. They might just export to friendly neighbouring countries,' said Carlos Mera, agri commodities analyst at Rabobank.
    
Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com



Mango Buyer-Seller Meet held in Hosur.

May 18, 2022

Mangoes come under the food processing industry and there are umpteen facilities for agro processing clusters such as Krishnagiri that fall under mini food parks in the State, said S. Natarajan, Director, Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business, here on Monday.
 
He was speaking at the Mango Buyer-Seller Meet organised jointly under the aegis of the Department of Horticulture and Plantation Crop and Department of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
 
The meet, organised to create awareness on the facilities available under the departments for export oriented crops and the interventions made by the government towards value addition for the crops that fall under the food processing category, witnessed the participation of growers and exporters.
 
Mr. Natarajan said mini food parks such as Krishangiri had not utilised its potential. There was a mega food park in Tirunelveli and seven mini food parks in the State, of which Krishnagiri was home to one such park.
 
Major thrust for marketing was already under way for Krishnagiri and Hosur. The International Flower Auction Centre was a case in point, according to the Director. At present, the Centre was awaiting software installation to reflect the international flower auction rates on real-time basis through online trading.
 
Similarly, the department was marching its way through digital agricultural marketing. This would entail online booking of godowns under the regulating market control, by knowing the storage capacity, usage and requirements of the godown space, Mr. Natarajan said.
 
Similarly, there were many cold storage facilities underutilised and it was for the growers and exporters to avail themselves of these facilities to add value to their products, the meeting underlined.
    
Source: thehindu.com



World Dairy Summit in India to take up export issue of liquid milk.

May 18, 2022

NEW DELHI: India is the world's largest producer of milk but the country cannot export its surplus as Indian milk does not fulfil the international food quality standard. Though India exports few dairy products to certain countries, the liquid (raw) milk has so far not been able to get global market access.
 
This concern will be one of the key issues of discussions at the World Dairy Summit which is to be held in Greater Noida during September 12-15 when India would showcase its dairy products and its adherence to quality norms protocol for liquid milk. Besides, India would also try to impress upon the participants as to why the 'milk and dairy' products should not be included in any free trade agreements (FTA) with a country or geographical grouping.
 
'There are many factors which are taken into consideration while granting market access. The World Organisation for Animal Health governs this issue and lays down protocol for export. We meet those standards for certain dairy products but not for liquid milk due to issues around 'foot and mouth disease' (FMD) in cattle,' said Atul Chaturvedi, secretary, animal husbandry and dairying, while sharing details of the Summit.
 
He said the country has been trying to resolve such issues and the Summit will provide an opportunity to showcase Indian products to global stakeholders. 'We have a target to deal with FMD through vaccination by 2025 and make India FMD free by 2030. We have been working on it through a dedicated programme of vaccination across the country,' said Chaturvedi.
 
The FMD is very common amongst livestock such as cows, bulls, buffaloes, sheep and goats. It is a highly contagious viral disease that deeply affects the production of livestock. This disease has a direct negative impact on the trade of milk and other livestock products.
 
Dairy is the single largest agricultural commodity contributing 5% of the national economy and employing more than 8 crore farmers directly in India. The country being the world's largest milk producer contributes 23% of global milk production. Milk production in India has grown at a compound annual growth rate of about 6.2% to reach 210 million tonnes in 2020-21 from 146 million tonnes in 2014-15.
 
Approximately 1,500 dairy sector stakeholders from over 40 milk-producing countries are expected to attend the Summit which will be held in India after a gap of 48 years. 'Dairy for nutrition and livelihood' will be the theme of the Summit which will be organised by the International Dairy Federation (IDF) in association with India's National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
 
Responding to a question on FTA during a press conference on the Summit, junior animal husbandry and dairying minister Sanjeev Kumar Balyan said, 'Our ministry wants that milk and dairy products should not be included in the FTA.'
 
On the issue of increasing input cost of milk production, the minister said though the milk prices should rise for the benefit of dairy farmers, there is also a need to protect consumers' interest.
 
The World Dairy Summit is considered an effective way of gaining global exposure for the Indian industry which will attract attention towards the smallholder milk production system of India. It will provide a forum to industry experts to share knowledge and ideas on how the sector can contribute to nourishing the world with safe and sustainable dairying.
 
Speaking on significance of hosting the Summit in India, Meenesh Shah, chairman, NDDB and member secretary of Indian National Committee of IDF, said, 'The dairy sector is the most important sector to boost the rural economy of India as it provides income opportunities to about eight crore farmers and that's the Summit is significant to the stakeholders in India.'
    
Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com



Sikkim : Gangtok To Host ‘Organic Food Summit’ On May 19.

May 18, 2022

Sikkim – the world’s first 100% organic state, which gradually transformed around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land into certified organic land is all set to host 'Sikkim Organic Food Summit' on May 19, 2022.
 
Commemorating the 75th years of Independence and celebrating India’s freedom struggle themed on 'Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav', this food summit will be organized at the Fern Denzong Hotel in Kazi Road, Gangtok from 10 AM onwards.
 
Organized by the Sikkim Commerce & Industries Department in association with the National Investment Promotion & Facilitation Agency – Invest India; this summit will be sponsored by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI).
 
This summit aims to provide a platform for ambitious new actions, innovative solutions, and plans to transform food systems.
 
The key goal of this food summit is to raise awareness on food systems’, focus on sustainable development agenda, and the urgency of transforming food systems, particularly in the wake of a global pandemic; thereby empowering stakeholders who support food systems transformation through the development of improved tools, measurement, and analysis.
    
Source: northeasttoday.in



Hyderabadi Haleem’s GI tag renewed for 10 more years.

May 18, 2022

The Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Hyderabadi Haleem has been renewed, after it expired around two years ago. The Haleem Makers Association, which got the GI tag in 2010, got it renewed for another 10 years, The Times of India reported. Senior examiner at the Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) under the Union Ministry of Commerce Prashanth Kumar S Bhairappanavar said in a renewal letter that the renewed GI tag will be valid till December 2029, according to ToI. 
 
Haleem is a meat preparation unique to Hyderabad. It is an aromatic stew-like dish made from finely pounded meat, lentils and wheat mixed with spices, and is preferred for breaking the fast during Ramzan due to its high nutritional value and porridge-like texture. It is usually served garnished with a spicy ‘shorba’ (meat broth), caramelised onions, coriander and slices of lemon. Originally an Arabic dish, it is said to have come to Hyderabad during the Mughal period via Iran and Afghanistan.
 
During Ramzan, Haleem stalls are set up throughout the city and the dish is sold in many restaurants, mainly catering to Muslims for breaking their fast in the evening. But Haleem is also extremely popular among those from non-Muslim communities in Hyderabad.
 
Popular joints do brisk business during the Ramzan season with techies, businessmen, families and even tourists relishing the piping hot delicacy at many outlets. Famous eateries like Pista House, Shah Ghouse and Sarvi open dozens of temporary outlets across Hyderabad and the IT clusters of Hitec City and Gachibowli. Techies employed in hundreds of IT companies also constitute a majority of the customers every year. 
 
Haleem sales had been affected during the last two years due to COVID-19 restrictions. The price of the dish has gone up in recent years, along with rising costs of ingredients. There are an estimated 6,000 Haleem makers in Hyderabad and other cities, most of them mainly depending on the business during Ramzan. 
 
A geographical indication (GI) tag is an indication which identifies certain products to have originated or manufactured in a specific region, where a given quality and reputation is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. Products with a GI tag are recognised under The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. The registration of a geographical indication is for a period of ten years and can be renewed from time to time. 
    
Source: thenewsminute.com



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