The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar held a bilateral meeting with the Brazilian Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply Ms. Tereza Cristina Correa da Costa Dias at Krishi Bhawan in New Delhi to discuss various bilateral trade opportunities, interests and issues. Both Ministers affirmed that agriculture is a priority for both Brazil and India 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 India and Brazil. Shri Tomar said that India is honoured to have President of Brazil as the Chief Guest for Republic Day and the Brazilian Minister for Agriculture being part of high level delegation is an indicator of the importance attached by the Brazilian Government to cooperation in the area of Agriculture and allied sectors.
He said that India and Brazil are Strategic Partners and the bilateral relationship is 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 further added that there is a keen interest on the part of leadership of both the countries to take the relationship to the next level.
The minister expressed happiness that the first meeting of the Joint Working Group on Agriculture was held last week and the major areas of interest emerging from the JWG meeting was exchange of germ plasm of livestock and Agriculture produce, insurance & credit programme of India and various other policies for small and family farmers. Agriculture Minister announced approval for market access to sesame seeds from Brazil to India and thanked Brazil for granting market access to maize seeds from India.
He said that the bilateral trade at US$ 1045 million in 2018-19 is way below potential and is 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 is interested in diversifying the commodity basket with regard to agricultural exports to Brazil. Brazil imports onions, fresh and dried grapes, wheat and meslin, maize, rice, soyabean and cotton from other countries of the world. The Union 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 Ministers were committed to resolving outstanding issues through continuous interaction. Both the sides agreed to expeditiously finalize the Work Plan under the MoU between ICAR and Brazilian Agricultural Research Cooperation (EMBRAPA) to ensure organized and sustained engagements in the suggested sectors.
Ms. Tereza Cristina Correa da Costa Dias in her opening remarks said that today is the second day of her visit and she felt very welcome in India. She said that the technical team which had visited earlier was thrilled with the results of the visit. Ms. 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 further said that the fundamental objective is to identify various issues and synergize ways and means to overcome them including tariffs which will help in the progress of both the nations.
She 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 income and lack of market access and very little access to new technology and innovations. She said that if we can manage to overcome the bottlenecks, it will provide a major impetus to boosting trade and business ties. She said that Wheat, Rice, Millets, Sorghum are 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.
Ms. Dias also said that Brazil has a Zero Tariff Program which has a quota of 7.5 Lakh Tons which can be effectively utilized by India for furthering their exports to Brazil. She thanked India for opening the market for Sesame seeds of which India is a major exporter but Brazil can complement Indian production especially during the period between harvests. She also said that Brazil will keep on exporting Avocadoes and Citrus to India and is looking forward to expand the relationship in other products as well. She also added that technology should be harnessed and teleconferencing should be used to further trade talks between the two nations before the next delegation meet. She said as a result of the visit Brazil is taking back the creation of Joint Working Group and the cooperation between ICAR and IMBRAPA. In conclusion she said that India and Brazil has taken the first step and will walk the wider path of growth and progress together.