Minister wants agricultural commodities trade between India and US strengthened


Gadkari mentioned the United States can help India with its challenges of surplus management by providing technology for storing and preservation. (Image: Twitter)

Gadkari says it would be a win-win situation if India and the United States cooperate over the processing of ethanol. 

During a virtual US-India Trade Mission webinar, India’s Minister of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari identified a list of commodities that will help to strengthen the agricultural trade between India and the United States. Gadkari highlighted a wide range of products that will help create a fruitful situation for agriculture trade between the two countries. 

Gadkari pointed out that India is currently facing a challenge with surplus management due to a lack of storage facilities. He explained how a surplus of food like rice, fish, cotton, and milk is a huge issue in a country where, he said, the Minimum Support Price (MSP) is higher than the international and market prices. He added that these claims could be proved by the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) annual report released in August.  Gadkari said: “We can coordinate with the United States as our country needs pre-cooling plants, cold storage, and different types of technology for preservation and processing. Then we will be able to increase our production and exports. We can make easy availability of all food processing value-added products in the whole world with a very reasonable cost. For this, we need to understand and accept new technology and innovation from the United States.”

The minister touched upon the subject of agriculture towards energy and stated that the Indian government has permitted to produce ethanol from corn, rice, and other food grains and the government also aims at second-generation ethanol from biomass using bamboo. He said: “The United States has a lot of ethanol available from corn and their rates are very less and are ready to export to India.”

He said he has been talking about ethanol for several years and finally, it has been accepted while the country faces severe air pollution due to diesel and petrol. He said: “One of the sectors where we can create cooperation between India and the United States is the processing of ethanol. In India, we have successfully completed a trial in the textile and synthetic fiber industry where they are using ethanol as a chemical in place of petroleum-based chemicals. Therefore, we need to accept the new technology, innovations, and research related to ethanol, where there will be a good combination and a win-win situation for both the nations.”

Citing the growing demand in the United States for faux meat, Gadkari highlighted the availability of soya beans as an important ingredient in the Indian market. “Soybean cakes contain 49% protein and in the US they are successfully making vegan meat. Therefore, there is a huge potential in India and we can collaborate with American companies if we can make soybean.” He further elaborated that it can act as a value-added product for farmers as in India mutton and chicken prices are more than Rs 600 ($8.4) per kg and the vegan meat will get Rs 200 ($2.8). 

Gadkari also spoke about commodities like honey, bamboo, and jute and their abundance in India. He claimed that despite ongoing debates about honey from different countries, the honey produced in India is of the highest quality and can be exported to the whole world. He said that Amazon has exported India’s MSME products of $9.8 billion and high altitude honey on its platform costs $84 per kg. He also talked about the production of incense sticks made of bamboo has increased 20 times more in India. 

He mentioned how India makes detergent powder from sugar which is cost-effective and eco-friendly and exports it to Russia and Dubai.

Mann Deshi Foundation organized the webinar.

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