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'Creating Higher Value In Food Sector Need Of The Hour'

Friday, November 20, 2015
By A Business Reporter

5th Global Economic Summit 2015

At the World Trade Centre’s (WTC) Expo Centre on Thursday, the vibe was unanimous, invigorating and forward looking when the who’s who of the global agriculture, farming and food processing fraternity gathered under one roof and inaugurated the Global Economic Summit (GES 2015). The summit centered on the pertinent theme ‘Enabling Food For All’ brought together key representatives from 28 countries. Present at the momentous occasion was Mr Subhash Desai, Hon’ble Minister of Industries, who presented a keynote address and emphasized on the need for value addition in the sector and an enhanced role of global partnerships to make India’s agriculture more effective.

Vijay Kalantri, Vice Chairman, World Trade Centre Mumbai and President, All India Association of Industries welcomed the key dignitaries and also set the day in action while highlighting the key challenges faced by agriculture sector in India, including droughts, water linkages, need for cold storage, food parks, optimal use of pesticides and fertilizers among others. He also brought the focus to reassessing the listing of 23 key food items on the commodity exchange.

The opening session saw an eclectic combination of views from international speakers including  Ghazi Abu Nahl, Chairman, World Trade Centers Association, N.Y. and Chairman, WTC (Cyprus);  Wojciech Jankowiak, Deputy Marshal of the Wielkopolska Region, Poland; and  Vladimir Vladimirov, Governor of Stavropol region, Russia. The international speakers brought the spotlight on to the relevance of the theme, ‘Enabling Food for All’and presented best practices from their respective regions. Each of these voices from different corners of the world had one thing in common - their keenness to collaborate and bring together best practices to ensure food security and enable use of science and technology towards enhanced and ecological agricultural practices for India.

Shyam Khadka, Representative in India, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in his theme address emphasized on the need for public and private sector to collaborate towards ensuring food security.

Subhash Desai, Minister of Industries, Government of Maharashtra in his keynote address brought to surface the need for global partners and experts to support the Indian initiative to help save agricultural production from going waste. He shared his vision to create more jobs on Maharashtra especially by diverting people engaged in agriculture to the industry sector.

The panel chaired by  Shyam Khadka, Representative in India, Food and Agriculture Organisations of the United Nations offered deep insights on a collective focus on infrastructure, technology as well as human capital to ensure rapid and rampant execution of food security measures so India achieves its ‘Zero Hunger’ target.

In his speech, Dr. Ashok K Vishandass, Chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices touched upon the widespread poverty, hunger and malnutrition challenges in India. While drawing some meaningful comparisons within and outside India, he showcased how the Indian agriculture sector is suffering from poor annual growth of 1.5% compared to over 5% growth in other sectors.

Presenting an overview of the agriculture sector in North Carolina, USA, Dr Nancy Creamer, Director of Center for Environmental Farming Systems, and Professor, North Caroline State University, highlighted the need for more resilient food systems. “Meeting the challenge depends on sustainably managing natural resources and human capital. From food waste reduction, improved transportation and storage to educating the farmers among other areas, a broad base of solutions are necessary,” she added.

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