Indian Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar and Janusz Wojciechowski, Member of the European Commission, Agriculture discussed on the roadmap for India-European Commission cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors through a virtual meeting on Wednesday. The strong momentum of the India- EU relations especially since the last India-EU Summit in July, 2020 was acknowledged by both leaders. Indian Agriculture Minister thanked the EU and its member states for coming forward in support of India in these critical times of Covid-19.
Both leaders discussed EU Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and the India’s recent agriculture market reforms; EU Farm to Fork Strategy and UN Food System Summit and bilateral cooperation; G20 Agriculture Minister process and fixation of the Maximum Residue Limit of Tricyclazole in Indian Basmati Rice by the EU.
The Member of the European Commission, Agriculture explained in detail the recent reforms undertaken by the EU in the Common Agriculture Policy as well as the EU Farm to Fork Strategy to make agriculture green as well as sustainable. He also mentioned that the EU had set a target of bringing 25 percent of area in the EU under organic farming by 2030.
The Indian Agriculture Minister explained the scenario of agriculture in India and the dominance of small farmers and the commitment of the Government of India towards welfare of farmers in India. The minister highlighted the recent initiatives taken by the Government of India to increase the incomes of the farmers, the launch of Agriculture Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of Rs 100,000 crore for development of farm-gate and agriculture marketing infrastructure in rural areas, scheme of formation of 10,000 farmer producer organisations (FPOs) to help small and marginal farmers in marketing of agricultural produce. He enlisted the steps being taken by the Government of India to make agriculture sustainable and environment friendly which included encouragement of application of nano-urea and organic farming under the Pramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana. He also highlighted the initiative of encouraging organic farming on either sides of Ganga river up to 5 Km through formation of clusters wherein 11 lakh farmers have already enrolled.
The Agriculture Minister acknowledged India’s support to the UN Food Systems Summit and informed the EU delegation that he would be leading the India delegation to the Pre-Summit being organised from 26th to 28th July, 2021 virtually.
Tomar also raised the issue of fixing the Maximum Residual Limit (MRL) of Tricyclazole used in rice crop which has been a concern for India and is affecting India’s basmati rice exports to the EU. All the required studies and documents have been submitted to EU in May-2021 and MRL will be fixed by second quarter of 2022 before next season.
Tomar suggested that until then the issue may be resolved through other mitigation measures. Member of the European Commission, said that such issues are not under his mandate, however, he assured of the Indian side to raise the issues with his concerned colleagues in European Commission.
Both leaders thanked each other for providing useful information on India-EU cooperation as well as agricultural reforms in their respective regions and also promised to work for the welfare of small and marginal farmers.
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