“There is no doubt that the engine of growth, globally is shifting from the west to east,” said Ms Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister of Food Processing Industries while speaking at the ASEAN – India Business Meet and Expo being organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of External Affairs today.
By 2020, the demand for food will increase by 20%. To stop food wastage we must ensure value added food processing and India and ASEAN can play an important role in this, she said. Talking about the blue economy, she noted, “India has close to 7000 km of coastline and the Government has already put in funds for the development of the shoreline.”
ASEAN and India are part of the Indo-Pacific region and can take a lead in two very pertinent areas to ensure sustainability through specific efforts. These include Agriculture and the Blue Economy. Along with agriculture, sustainable exploitation of aquatic resources and co-operation potential for exploiting ocean energy are among key areas for collective progress.
Mr Michael Williamson, Head of Office (Acting), Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia, UNESCAP said that it is important to recognize the concept of blue economy as it will help in forming a more holistic approach to sustainable development. It is also important for the welfare and livelihood of the small and marginal coastal farmers. Countries can tap into other sources for energy which is very important for India and ASEAN and to address the sustainable agriculture goals of the blue economy, countries will have to form new policies.
H.E. Mr. Alounkeo Kittikhoum, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Lao People's Democratic Republic said that the country hopes that India can help the ASEAN countries in improving agricultural productivity, enhancing farmers’ income and sharing of farm technology. “There is a need for more collaborative approach towards enhanced maritime issues like search and rescue, maritime security, connectivity, illegal trafficking, among others."
Mr Devendra Kumar Singh, Chairman, APEDA said that in the last few years food processing has been moving up in India. “There has been a gradual shift towards value added healthy food and India and ASEAN can collaborate for processing and export of such value added food products,” he said. He further said that India and ASEAN can collaborate for enhanced productivity, facilitating business to business interactions, and mutual recognition of trade barriers as well as setting up of standards across the region and certification etc.
“For ASEAN countries, agriculture is the key engine for economic growth,” said Ms Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, Vice Chairman, International Relations of KADIN Indonesia and Owner and Chief Executive Officer, Sintesa Group. The agenda, going forward, should explore joint ventures between India and ASEAN on technology partnership.
Mr Anil Khaitan, Chairman & Managing Director, Sunil Healthcare Limited said that 1.8 billion people in ASEAN can have a sustainable share in the blue economy. This can only be achieved by collaborative agreements between the ASEAN countries. He also said that there is a need for science-based approach to the blue economy. Oceans are important for the economy of coastal countries and we must plan and execute our economic development with special recognition for the coastal areas.
Mr Salil Singhal, Co-Chairman, CII Agriculture Council and Chairman & Managing Director, PI Industries Limited stressed the need for ASEAN nations to work towards sustainable agriculture and at the same time protect the rights of small coastal farmers.
23 January 2018