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( 07/12/2017 09:21)
Indian and Italy sign pact for cooperation in in farm sector

Indian and Italy has inked a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in agriculture and phytosanitary issues that will replace the one signed in 2008, according to an official statement.

The MOU provides a good framework for cooperation in this field, said Radha Mohan Singh, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister.

Welcoming the visiting delegates led by H.E Maurizio Martina, Italian Minister for Agriculture Food and Forestry Policies, the Minister that India attaches great importance to the development of bilateral ties between the two countries and look forward to further expand and strengthen ties between the two countries in various areas including in the Agriculture sector. Singh thanked the Italian Minister for participating in the AGRIMACH India, 2017 along with a large business delegation.

Singh identified areas such as agriculture machinery, training, investment, institutional linkages, precision farming, cattle breeding and fisheries having much potential for cooperation, and briefly provides the initiatives taken by the Government in the field of agriculture market, soil health, irrigation, crop insurance etc.

He also raised the issue of Indian exports of grapes and rice suffering on account of arbitrary Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) set by European Commission. He suggested a mutually acceptable solution can found to this issue, as these limits were set by EU without any scientific assessment being shared to India.

Singh said that India has always had an active association with IFAD ever since it was set up in 1977 as the 13th specialized agency of the United Nations. India is a founder member of IFAD, a key contributor among the member Countries, participates actively in the Fund's governing bodies, and holds a permanent seat in IFAD Executive Board. It currently holds the chairmanship of the Governing Council and of the Evaluation Committee.

Union Agriculture Minister further said that he welcomes the new country strategy for IFAD engagement in India for the period 2018-2024, which proposes to strategically focus on 'smallholder food and agricultural production systems that are remunerative, sustainable and resilient' and achieving India’s goal of doubling farmers' incomes. He also appreciated IFAD plans to establish sub-regional hubs in New Delhi to serve as a sub-regional hub, covering Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives besides India. This will significantly enhance opportunities for further investment, technology and knowledge cooperation, including South-South Technical Cooperation (SSTC).

Singh said India has contributed 37 million USD in the 10th replenishment of IFAD for the period 2016-2018. He further added that he looks forward to enhanced cooperation between India and IFAD in the coming years. Together, we can do much more by expanding the collaboration with the private sector, and to engage more systematically in South-South Technical Cooperation involving public and private organizations as well as farmers and their organizations.

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