Staff Reporter

Opportunities for two-way trade

  • "Develop the export potential of the primary agricultural sector"
  • India had a great opportunity to become a processing hub

    CHENNAI: Despite the protectionist trade barriers under negotiation in the World Trade Organisation, the European Union provides a ready market for India's processed food exports, D. Kebschull, Chief Programme Coordinator of the European Union-India Trade and Investment Development Programme (TIDP), has said.

    Speaking at an interactive session organised by the TIDP along with the Export Inspection Council of India and the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Kebschull said developing the export potential of the primary agricultural sector was essential to take India's economic growth story to its large rural population.

    "The processing industry is a sunshine industry ... that's where the future is," said Vijay Subbiah of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation. Only two per cent of India's agricultural produce is processed.

    High potential

    With a coastline of 8,000 kilometres, India's aquaculture and marine products sectors also had high export potential for the EU.

    Elias Sait, President of the Seafood Exporters Association of India, said aquaculture development needed to be expanded to 1.5 million hectares, while the product basket must be diversified from the current emphasis on shrimps to include more crustaceans, cephalopods and fish products.

    S. Santhanakrishnan of Marine Technologies said that $32 million worth of investment was expected to flow into the Indian food processing market by 2010. EU expertise, especially in the untapped marine fin fish farming field, could revitalise the industry in India.