Farmers to get global markets, policy to boost agri exports on cards, says Suresh Prabhu

 PTI   New Delhi     Last Updated: September 5, 2017  | 21:40 IST
Farmers to get global markets, policy to boost agri exports on cards, says Suresh Prabhu

Outlining his priority, new Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu today said the ministry will work on promoting agri exports and will ensure global market for farmers.

He said that farmers have all the right to access global markets and get better prices and "for that we will put in place a good policy framework very soon".

Prabhu, who took charge as Commerce and Industry Minister yesterday, said that his ministry will work on developing global supply chain for the agriculture sector.

Addressing the 10th Agriculture Leadership Summit 2017 here, the minister said at the multi-lateral platforms also, there is a need to work on removing trade restrictions with an aim to boost the country's agri shipments.

"We have right to have access to global markets for our farm produce by removing all trade restrictive practices," he said adding all these measures would help increase farmers' income.

The Narendra Modi-led government aims to double farmers' income by 2022. Crop diversification, focus on allied sectors and food processing and tapping global markets are among the steps the government is taking to meet the target.

In 2016-17, export of agri products, such as cereals, processed fruit and vegetables, processed foods, and animal products, was around USD 16.27 billion, according to the data by Apeda.

Prabhu said the ministry will work on developing global supply chains for the sector.

"We have to develop global supply chains and we are going to actually work on that," he added.

The commerce ministry, Prabhu said, will make sure that "we will achieve this goal to ensure that India's agri sector will also be able to feed hundreds of others".

As a commerce minister, he said "my job is to ensure that we will develop this global supply chain and ensure farmer get better prices".

Domestically, the ministry will work with its agri counterparts to develop agriculture parks in India.

"If here are clusters for industry, why should we not think about clusters for different kinds of agriculture," he said.

Further Prabhu informed that soon he would be meeting trade ministers in Manila, the Philippines, and Seoul, South Korea.

Talking about the World Trade Organisation (WTO), he said the ministerial conference is in Argentina in December.

"Our agenda is going to be very aggressive. This is a development round ... We will like to make sure that Indian farmers get their due by getting better price from global markets. This is very important and this is going to be part of the strategy to increase farmers income in India," the minister said.

Talking about challenges in the agri sector, he said land and water is limited but the population is growing and "we have a challenge to keep feeding".

"New challenge is climate change. It will have a huge negative impact on agriculture ... how to keep feeding more people," he said, adding the changing food habits are also going to be a big challenge and to address these "we have to have technologies and you need to think differently".

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