J&K Eyes Gulf Food Sector, 20 Member Team In UAE

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Dubai- With an aim to promote its horticulture produce in the Middle East and tap the Gulf market, a 20-member delegation of businessmen and government officials from Jammu and Kashmir is participating in the UAE-India Food Security Summit 2020, starting Tuesday.

Organised by the Consulate General of India in Dubai in association with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Invest India, the two-day event brings several key stakeholders from both the countries on one platform to share their experiences, deliberate on solutions and explore ways to further increase the collaboration in the food security sector.

Navin K Choudhary, Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Jammu and Kashmir, is leading the 20-member delegation to the event, which will be attended by around 200 prominent businessmen, investors and representatives of public sector organisations, business enterprises and institutions from both India and the UAE.

Addressing the curtain raiser event on Monday, India”s Ambassador to the UAE, Pavan Kapoor, said the relevance of food security for both India and the UAE is there to see and it has been further accentuated during the coronavirus pandemic.

Majid Aslam Wafai, President of the Jammu & Kashmir Apple Cold Store Association (JKPICCA), said they are in Dubai to explore and understand the Gulf markets as the government of India is keen to see the Kashmiri apple in the Gulf food basket.

“We had a very fruitful meeting with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, which was headed on our side by Principal Secretary Navin K Chaudhary. We have received a positive feedback during this meeting and we hope to leverage this to ensure supply to this part of the world,” Wafai told PTI.

Punjab’s sports minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi was also present during the curtain raiser event.

The summit will see discussions and presentations on food processing, equipment and technology, dairy product development and infrastructure including development of logistics and integrated cold chains, regulatory requirements for imports, investments into food parks, agro-processing clusters, infrastructure development for fishing harbours and showcase milestones by Indian companies in aquaculture, hydroponics, saline irrigation and agritech-vertical farming.

India’s Consul General in Dubai, Dr Aman Puri, said food security is a priority area for both India and the UAE and over 200 participants will deliberate on different dimensions of cooperation during the summit, virtually and otherwise.

“In the post-COVID world, we should not be thinking of getting back to business as usual. This is the time to reflect, reset and refresh our approach to doing business. We need to collaborate more, leverage technology and maximise productivity and efficiency,” he said.

Puri said India-UAE partnership in the food sector has immense untapped potential and can further strengthen food security not only in the UAE, but the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, besides increasing food exports from India.

“UAE’s investments into food parks and the entire supply chain will improve certainty of supplies and improve productivity and efficiency in the Indian food sector landscape. With this summit, we hope to take this partnership to the next level,” he said.

Dr Ahmed Al Banna, Ambassador of UAE to India; Mekapati Goutham Reddy, Andhra Pradesh”s Industries and Commerce minister; Juma Alkait, Assistant Undersecretary for International Trade Affairs Sector, UAE; UAE-India Business Council Chairman and Sharaf Group Vice Chairman Maj Gen (Retd) Sharafuddin Sharaf; Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) Chairman Dr M Angamuthu; Invest India MD & CEO Deepak Bagla; and CII Executive Director-FACE Meetu Kapur are among the dignitaries scheduled to attend the event.

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