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Tomar, Dias deliberate upon Indo-Brazil trade opportunities at meeting
Friday, 24 January, 2020, 13 : 00 PM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
Narendra Singh Tomar, minister for agriculture and farmers’ welfare, rural development and Panchayati Raj, held a bilateral meeting with Brazilian minister for agriculture, livestock and food supply, Tereza Cristina Correa da Costa Dias, at Krishi Bhawan here on Thursday to discuss various bilateral trade opportunities, interests and issues.

This was stated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Family Welfare in a statement issued here. It added that both the ministers affirmed that agriculture was a priority for both the countries and resolved to strengthen cooperation in the agriculture and allied sectors.

The strong bilateral relations between India and Brazil have continued to strengthen and deepen over the years and were reiterated. The two countries have similar aspirations and developmental challenges, especially for small and marginal farmers, which makes the two countries natural partners.

Tomar expressed pleasure at intensification of cooperation in the agriculture sector, and of the warm, friendly and mutually beneficial relationship between the two nations.

He added that India was honoured to have the President of Brazil as the chief guest for Republic Day, and the Brazilian minister for agriculture, being a part of high-level delegation was an indicator of the importance attached by the Brazilian government to cooperation in the area of agriculture and allied sectors.

Tomar said that India and Brazil were strategic partners and the bilateral relationship was one of the oldest in the Latin American region and has continued to strengthen and deepen over the years.

“As two large democracies and growing economies India and Brazil have similar aspirations and developmental challenges which make us natural partners,” he added.

Tomar stated that there was a keen interest on the part of leadership of both the countries to take the relationship to the next level. He added that the cooperation was multi-faceted, and is not only in the bilateral arena, but also in multilateral fora such as BRICS and IBSA, and particularly the UN.

Tomar further expressed happiness that the first meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Agriculture was held recently, and the major areas of interest emerging from the meeting was the exchange of germplasm of livestock and agriculture produce, insurance and credit programme of India and various other policies for small and family farmers.

He announced approval for market access to sesame seeds from Brazil to India, and thanked Brazil for granting market access to maize seeds from India.

Tomar said that the bilateral trade at $1,045 million in 2018-19 was way below potential and was not reflective of the strengths of both economies, and there is a need to encourage more trade given the huge complementarities and synergies that exist between India and Brazil.

He said that India was interested in diversifying the commodity basket with regard to agricultural exports to Brazil. The South American nation imports onions, fresh and dried grapes, wheat and meslin, maize, rice, soyabean and cotton from other countries of the world. The agriculture minister requested Brazil to explore sourcing these agricultural items from India.

Tomar further discussed several issued of mutual importance, including the market access issues and Brazilian investment in India. Brazil and India agreed to work towards expeditious resolving of market access to other agricultural products of interest to each other.

Both the ministers were committed to resolving outstanding issues through continuous interaction.

Tomar, in conclusion, expressed confidence that in the coming years, India’s relationship with Brazil will further gain in strength.

Both the sides agreed to expeditiously finalize the Work Plan under the MoU (Ministry of Understanding) between ICAR and Brazilian Agricultural Research Cooperation (EMBRAPA) to ensure organised and sustained engagements in the suggested sectors.

Dias, in her opening remarks, said, “Today is the second day of my visit, and I feel very welcome in India.”

She added that the technical team which had visited earlier was thrilled with the results of the visit.

Dias stated that this bilateral matches the wishes of the Brazilian president, who also wishes to boost bilateral trade ties and improve overall country-to-country relationship, taking it to new heights.

She added that the fundamental objective was to identify various issues and synergise ways and means to overcome them, including tariffs, which will help in the progress of both the nations.

Dias said that both countries share a common challenge with a huge part of the population being engaged in agriculture, and most of them being small and marginal farmers with low incomes and the lack of market access and very little access to new technology and innovations.

She added, “If we can manage to overcome the bottlenecks, it will provide a major impetus to boosting trade and business ties.”

Dias said that wheat, rice, millets and sorghum were some of the products that India would like to export to Brazil, and that she will try to move forward on this as far as possible.

She added that Brazil has a Zero Tariff Programme, which has a quota of 7.5 lakh tonne, which can be effectively utilised by India for furthering their exports to Brazil.

Dias thanked India for opening the market for sesame seeds, of which India was a major exporter, but Brazil can complement Indian production, especially during the period between harvests.

She added that Brazil was keen on exporting avocadoes and citrus to India, and was looking forward to expand the relationship in other products as well.

Dias stated that technology should be harnessed and teleconferencing should be used to further trade talks between the two nations before the next delegation meet.

She added that as a result of the visit, Brazil was taking back the creation of the JWG and the cooperation between ICAR and IMBRAPA.

In conclusion, Dias said that India and Brazil had taken the first step, and will walk the wider path of growth and progress together.
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