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Tomar Organizes Bilateral Meetings with Ministers of Guyana, Suriname, Zambia, Mauritius & Sri Lanka

Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar met with Agricultural Ministers from several countries attending the Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference today. An MoU was also signed with the World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations.

Shivam Dwivedi
Union Agriculture Minister aimed to deepen India's agricultural connections with other countries
Union Agriculture Minister aimed to deepen India's agricultural connections with other countries

Meanwhile, Tomar commended the ministers for participating in the worldwide conference held by India to promote Shree Anna as part of the International Year of Millets (IYM). According to him, the International Year of Millets is being observed in order for the Indian Shree Anna, its recipes, and value-added products to be recognized globally as a people's movement. He aimed to deepen India's agricultural connections with other countries.

Insights from Meeting with Guyana's Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustafa:

Union Minister Tomar, in a meeting with Guyana's Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustafa, recalled the President of Guyana, Dr. Mohammad Irfan Ali, and Vice President Bharat Jagdev's visit to India, and stated that agriculture is an important area of cooperation between the two countries. He expressed satisfaction with the steady improvement of India-Guyana relations and expressed hope for meaningful cooperation in agriculture and related sectors. Tomar commended Guyana on its massive crude oil discovery, adding that it will allow Guyana to establish itself as a significant energy exporter, with the ability to alter its people's lives.

He expressed immense potential for cooperation between India and Guyana in agriculture and agro-processing industries, stating that the two countries complement each other because Guyana has vast arable land and water availability and India has the technology, expertise, and skilled manpower, which will benefit both countries. India is eager to share its expertise and experience in the development of agricultural and associated sectors in Guyana, and an Agreement is currently being negotiated. He promised Guyana that its request for the deputation of two specialists to ITEC from India for three years to support the Guyana Sugar Corporation management and revitalise Guyana's sugar estates/plants would be addressed as soon as possible.

Insights from Meeting with Suriname's Minister of Agriculture, Parmanand Prahlad Sewdien:

Tomar stated during a meeting with Suriname's Minister of Agriculture, Parmanand Prahlad Sewdien, that India and Suriname have deep, cordial, and friendly relations that have been strengthened over the course of 150 years through cultural and people-to-people contacts. He wished the 150th anniversary of Indian presence in Suriname success and expressed optimism that President Santokhi's official visit to India in January 2023 will catapult our bilateral relations to new heights. He expressed delight and pride in the fact that Hindi is widely spoken in Suriname. Suriname, like India, is a multi-ethnic and diverse country where people live in peace & harmony.

According to the discussion at the second meeting of the Joint Working Group on Agriculture, Tomar expressed hope that the draught Joint Action Plan for the next five years (2023-27) would be completed soon and stated that Suriname will give wood export facilities to India. In 2021-22, India's agricultural exports to Suriname totaled USD 4.34 million. There are additional opportunities to expand trade and investment, particularly in agro-food processing. Under India's flagship programme, development partnership, India is committed to providing technical support to Suriname as needed, as well as contributing to capacity building and human resource skill development.

Shree Anna is the excellent answer for increasing country self-sufficiency and reducing reliance on foreign grains. If Suriname offers, India can initiate agricultural cooperation projects and delegate agricultural specialists under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programmes to conduct research on Shree Anna growing in Suriname.

Insights from Meeting with Zambia's Agriculture Minister, Reuben Mtolo Phiri:

Union Minister Tomar stated at a meeting with Zambia's Agriculture Minister, Reuben Mtolo Phiri, that India and Zambia have maintained friendly connections for a long time. The leaders of Zambia's freedom struggle drew inspiration from the leaders of India's freedom struggle, especially Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhiji continues to inspire Zambian leaders and the younger generation. Zambia is one of the few African countries that has reaped significant benefits from India's development assistance programme. Under the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS), India gives scholarships for various higher education courses, ITEC training slots, and unique capacity building programmes, as well as Exim Bank credit, Railway Wagons, Flood Relief Grant, and Line of Credit.

Zambia, with its abundant natural resources, has emerged as a key target for Indian investments in a variety of areas. With over $5 billion in pledged commitments, India is one of Zambia's biggest investors. Bilateral commerce between India and Zambia has been gradually rising. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in India for trade and investment with Zambia, although logistics and Zambia's small size remain the key limitations and limiting factors.

Insights from Meeting with Mauritius' Minister for Agri-Industry and Food Security, Manish Gobin:

Tomar stated during a meeting with Mauritius' Minister for Agri-Industry and Food Security, Manish Gobin, that India has long-standing historical, demographic, and cultural ties with Mauritius. Individuals of Indian heritage make up over 70% of the island's 1.2 million people. Mauritius is one of the few significant countries with which independent India established diplomatic relations prior to Mauritius' independence in 1948. The two countries' leaders have a high level of trust and mutual understanding, which is shown in their continuous high-level political interaction. This unique relationship has resulted in unusually tight cooperation in marine security, development partnerships, capacity building, and international fora.

The Indian Cultural Center in Mauritius (India's largest in the world) and the Global Hindi Secretariat, a bilateral institution for the promotion of Hindi, foster long-lasting cultural and people-to-people links between India and Mauritius. India is one of Mauritius's most important trading partners. Bilateral trade increased by 69% in 2021-22, reaching USD 786.72 million.

Insights from Meeting with Mahinda Amaraweera, Sri Lanka's Agriculture Minister:

Agricultural issues were discussed during a meeting between Tomar and Mahinda Amaraweera, Sri Lanka's Agriculture Minister. According to Tomar, agriculture employs a major fraction of the Indian and Sri Lankan populations, and both countries have very similar aims for moving this sector forward. Cooperation between the two parties in the agricultural sector so becomes natural. Sri Lanka is one of India's largest trading partners in SAARC, while India is one of Sri Lanka's largest trading partners in SAARC.

The MoU between the World Food Programme and the Government of India for cooperation between 2023 and 2027 was signed during the global conference in the presence of Agriculture Minister Tomar. Manoj Juneja, UNWFP's Deputy Chief Executive Director, Management, and Chief Financial Officer, and Elizabeth Faure, WFP Representative and Country Director in India, were in attendance. The Directorate of Food and Public Distribution, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Rural Development, and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change will all work together to carry out the MoU.

Tomar praised WFP's efforts to promote food self-sufficiency and to support governmental and global efforts to find long-term solutions to the hunger crisis. He praised the World Food Programme for participating in the Global Millets Conference and expressed hope that the collaboration between the WFP and the Government of India will generate positive results in achieving our aims.

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