3 G2Gs, 1 G2B, 14 B2Bs, 1 Investor Meet, I Multilateral Dialogue and 10 MoUs speak of the grand success of IndusFood-II


IndusFood, the grand event that was signed off on the evening of January 15, 2019 was grand in every sense. Other than the 800 global buyers from 78 countries who conducted over 12500 B2Bs with about 500 Indian exhibitors, IndusFood was uniquely successful in several other ways.

The IndusFood saw 3 G2Gs happening with Vietnam, Iraq and UAE, 1 G2B with Bangladesh, I investor meet with Odisha Government, I multilateral dialogue on Indian tea and saw 10 MoUS being signed with TPCI and various organizations.

In all, the second edition of Indus Food saw business deals and agreements worth $1 billion negotiated which would materialise in months to come.


Hospitality Purchase Managers Deliberate Synergies

A panel discussion involving hospitality purchase managers deliberated on the topic of synergies in international procurement and how they can help the Indian F&B industry. Eminent names from India and abroad engaged with the hospitality and F&B trade were present on the occasion.

Questions put up for deliberation included procedures for purchasing commodities in a hotel and whether the process was different in India from that followed in other countries. Panelists came to a unanimous conclusion that it was overall a similar procedure but in the Gulf there is a provision of prompt delivery, as delays could lead to fines of $1,500 per day if commodities failed to clear customs in a timely manner.

Bulk procurement from India faced several issues, with the communication gap being identified as the main hurdle. There was often a response lag and lack of interest from the vendors’ end.  Some of the major food products were not available in the domestic market and, therefore, had to be procured from other sources. With certain commodities and brands banned in the Gulf countries if they failed to meet quality standards, there was a need to ensure production of quality Indian products, which adhered to internationally accepted global standards.

The panel recommended that Indian manufacturers should enhance the quality of food products and packaging standards. The manufacturers could be educated in this sector through continuous dialogue with vendors.


Outstanding Issues Discussed at India-Vietnam G2G

The India-Vietnam government-to-government (G2G) roundtable addressed the key issues that were affecting the export of value-added products. Based on the trade analysis, diversification of trade basket was discussed since meat, fish, and crustacean (basically shrimp) exports to Vietnam from India add up to $4.1 billion.

The India-Vietnam government-to-government (G2G) roundtable addressed the key issues that were affecting the export of value-added products. Based on the trade analysis, diversification of trade basket was discussed since meat, fish, and crustacean (basically shrimp) exports to Vietnam from India add up to $4.1 billion.

Mr. Santosh Sarangi, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce brought to the delegates’ attention how the recent technological advancements had helped increase the production of processed and organic foods, simultaneously increasing the export values for countries with high demand such as Vietnam.


Addressing the officials present, the ambassador of Vietnam to India, HE Pham Sanh Chau said, “Events such as IndusFood are important for both the nations as 60% of our economy is based on agriculture. Such G2G discussions shall not only bring prosperity to our nations but also help bridge the various gaps between nations.” Mr. Chau also took up the trade-related issues between the two countries such as excess tax duties on certain commodities. Other issues discussed pertained to quality and market access faced by Vietnamese buyers.

Mr. Rajneesh, Joint Secretary (ASEAN), Department of Commerce said that Vietnam was India’s natural partner for value-added products and assured the South East Asian nation’s ambassador that all outstanding issues would be resolved at the earliest. He affirmed: ”India believes in collaboration and not negotiation.”

Mr. Mai Hoang, a shrimp importer from Vietnam told Fresh that IndusFood provided numerous buyers like her an efficient platform to not only cut deals but also connect with traditional food products of India.

In conclusion, Mr. Bui Trung Thuong, Head of Trade Office, Embassy of Vietnam observed that India and Vietnam should set up business centres for trade facilitation and implementation of stringent quality checks meat and fish products. Both nations agreed to sign MoUs between the designated ministries to expedite solutions.


India, Iraq Commit to Stronger Ties at Roundtable

Government delegates of India and Iraq came together to discuss issues of food procurement at the G2G dialogue, held at IndusFood. Rice, frozen meat, sesame seeds, dried chickpeas and groundnuts were India’s top five exports to Iraq in 2017. Fresh soft dates, dried shell beans and rice were top imports of India from Iraq for the same year.

Mr. LN Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary, Odisha Government laid emphasis on Odisha as a trading hub. He said that the state had the potential to export rice, groundnuts and maize.

Mr. Khaldoon Tareq, the Commercial Counsellor, Embassy of Iraq was the spokesperson from the Iraq delegation. Mr. Naeem Mohaisen Jebur, General Director, State Company of Grain Trading Iraq also presented his views. He said that Iraq mainly imported rice from India. However, the tenders of Indian companies that float in Iraq quoted their prices higher than other countries. This was a major barrier and prevented Iraq from importing rice and other items from India.

Mr. N Ramesh from the Department of Commerce, Govt of India came up with a few solutions. He suggested that a MoU could be signed between India and Iraq, where trade would take place between government companies of Iraq and India only to address the issue of high pricing by Indian private companies. The other solution that was suggested was that since India imports crude oil from Iraq and pays Iraq in dollars, instead India can pay Iraq in food grains. To this, the Iraqi delegation said they were not authorised to take this decision and would consult their authorities further. The conference ended with India committing to fulfill the requirements of the Iraqi government in the best way possible.


India Bangladesh to explore joint investment opportunities

The Indo-Bangladesh government to government (G2G) round-table dialogues revolved around different food and beverage growth potential areas for boosting trade to create a win-win situation for both the countries. Mr. Santosh Sarangi, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce initiated the dialogue by throwing light upon the ways to explore investment opportunities for both the countries.

Mr. A.F.M. Fakhrul Islam Munshi, president of Bangladesh Agro-Processors Association said, “Value addition to the agro products is very essential. There are certain barriers to the trade which need to be resolved.” He suggested formation of a committee for surveillance and coordination between the two countries.

One of the major points of discussions was the ways in which Odisha Government could cater to the needs of the Bangladesh food & beverage sector. Odisha has a long coastline with better port connectivity and air connectivity via Kolkata. The Indian state produces rice, groundnuts, maize, cashew, fruits, vegetables, spices etc. in surplus. Also, the state holds great potential in marine products (for example – shrimps)

Additional Chief Secretary Odisha Government Mr LN Gupta, on a query put forward by Bangladeshi delegations on increasing exports to India, informed the panel that Odisha has increased imports by an estimate of 24-25 billion USD. Major imports have been in edible oil, cashews and almonds. However, certain food products are overpriced in the international markets and all the existing bottlenecks in the trade must be identified and eliminated.

Mr Santosh Sarangi said: “There is a great potential for leveraging each other’s market. The Pradhan Mantri SAMPADA Yojana is a comprehensive package that will provide a major boost to food processing industry in the country, which will help in doubling farmer’s income and create huge employment opportunities in the sector.” The Indian delegation encouraged Bangladesh delegates to visit the MSME exhibitors in the IndusFood event to seek setting up of food processing plants in Bangladesh.

Mr A.F.M Fakhrul Islam Munshi proposed collaboration with India by assisting in the field of technology so as to produce cheaper goods in Bangladesh. He further said the two countries are looking forward to sign a Business to Business (B2B) MoU and continue future dialogues with India.


Warmth of Historic Ties Felt in India-UAE Dialogue

A  G2G roundtable dialogue was held between India and UAE around the issues faced by buyers while trading in Indian food products. The Indian and UAE delegations included both the private and public entities whose aim was to discuss trade as well as the promotion of their brands. On the Indian side were the CEOs of startups and bureaucrats from the ministries of commerce and agriculture-based ministries. Also, on the UAE panel were representatives from both public and private entities.

The issues which were highlighted by the UAE delegation were the need for the collaboration with food security partners in order to satisfy the demand for F&B products in the UAE. This was in addition to the import of fresh food commodities, which was the major issue raised by the delegation.

“UAE is much closer to India than with the rest of the Arab countries,” declared HE Khalifa M Al-Ali, the Director General, Food Security Centre in Abu Dhabi. Khalifa acted as the moderator for the UAE delegation, while Manoj K Bharti was the moderator from the Indian side.

The UAE delegation accepted the invitation of Mr. LN Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary, State Govt. of Odisha to attend the MSME Trade Fair 2019 to be held in Bhubaneshwar. He expressed his vision for Odisha as a state of enormous opportunity for the UAE to invest. The UAE delegation, meanwhile, invited their Indian counterparts to attend SIAL Middle East in Abu Dhabi.

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