USSEC Participates in Farm 2 Fork 2015 in India
USSEC India recently participated in “India Farm 2 Fork 2015” in New Delhi.
Farm 2 Fork was organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce in Delhi, one of India’s leading chambers of commerce. The conference is an annual event attended by a select category of food industries, food policy makers, concerned ministries and departments of the Indian government.
Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, union minister of food processing industries from the Indian government, opened the program, stressing that food processing is the key link between agriculture and manufacturing. In a developing country such as India, it contributes as much as 9 to 10 percent of the GDP in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Speakers and panellists talked about issues including food processing, skill development in the food processing sector; food and nutrition security; food laws; procurement; distribution and supply chain; marketing; and other aspects of agriculture and food processing.
There was a debate on the topic of “why India doesn’t import oil seeds rather than importing edible oil.” Dr. Ratan Sharma, USSEC Director – Soy Food Program, India, participated in this debate and discussed the miserable soy situation in India and the consequences faced by the crushers and the soy processing industry in general. He emphasized India’s shrinking soy production and said that 80 percent of the country’s crush capacity is not utilized due to lack of availability and the complex soy situation in India.
This situation creates an opportunity for India to import U.S. Soy as a sustainable and convenient soy supply to fulfill the oil and protein requirements of the country. Besides fulfilling the edible oil and soy meal requirements, it would also create employment opportunities in this sector, which is a major drive of the Indian government. In continuation, Dr. Sharma described soy processing opportunities for food and feed uses in India.
John Slette, Senior Agriculture Attaché of the U.S. Embassy served as keynote speaker, discussing how soy food and feed business create a livelihood for a large number of entrepreneurs in India, including those in the aquaculture sector. Mr. Slette also arranged an opportunity for Dr. Sharma to be interviewed by an online business TV news channel. This interview provided Dr. Sharma with a chance to highlight the opportunities for U.S. Soy in India.
In another event in Delhi recently, USSEC India participated in a FAS/USDA co-operators meeting led by the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, a highest – ranking officer of the USDA and Scott Sindelar – Minister councilor FAS in Delhi. Representing USSEC, Dr. Ratan Sharma discussed about the present scenario of the soybean in India and drastic decline in the soy meal export from India and about the increasing domestic consumption of the soy food and feed uses. He mentioned about the first ever open discussion in a half day session organised by the Soy Oil Processors Association of India (SOPA) to discuss the possibilities of adopting the GM practices for soybean in India, during their oil seed convention in Nagpur in the last week of the September 2015. USSEC’s efforts to enhance the soybean and soymeal imports from US in the ASC region with an increased US share, about the US beans being crushed for the oil and meals in the region for the local consumption, and US food bean and soy oil opportunities in India were discussed during this meet.