India-Brazil: Fostering Global Food Security through Cooperative Agriculture – The Financial Express

The Financial Express
In a world marked by escalating food-related challenges and recent international conflicts, Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Carlos Fávaro, delivered a compelling message during his visit to Delhi. His key focus was on the pivotal role of cooperative production and marketing in the agricultural sector as a solution to the ongoing global food crisis.
Responding to media queries on the sidelines of an event in Delhi,  against the backdrop of turmoil in Ukraine and Gaza, Minister Fávaro voiced his call for peace and outlined how cooperative efforts could play a significant part in addressing the world’s pressing food-related issues.
As reported previously in Financial Express Online, his visit took place alongside a seminar on ‘Perspectives and the Future of India-Brazil Relations in the Agribusiness Sector,’ underlining the significance of this cooperation.
Minister Fávaro’s mission to India is driven by a clear agenda: to bolster diplomatic ties and foster friendship between the two nations while exploring commercial and cooperative opportunities in agriculture.

Brazil, under the leadership of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is unwavering in its determination to enhance relations with India. This collaboration is not limited to agriculture alone; it extends to commercial and industrial sectors. Both countries signed Memorandums of Understanding to foster cooperation in food safety and vegetable oil industries.
Furthermore, they expressed readiness to collaborate in agricultural and climatic research, technology transfer, and the realm of cooperatives. The overarching goal is to combat hunger and ensure food accessibility for all.

The Brazilian government is a staunch advocate for forming agricultural cooperatives. Minister Fávaro himself, having been the founding president of a cooperative, understands their vital role in empowering small-scale farmers and enhancing competitiveness. Cooperatives offer the promise of not only strengthening small producers but also facilitating the purchasing and selling of agricultural produce, ultimately driving industrialization. In this context, Brazil is eager to formalize its relations with Indian cooperatives, underscoring their relevance in the contemporary world.
Responding to a question, Minister Fávaro was unequivocal in stating that Brazil does not see war as a commercial opportunity; instead, they prioritize peace as their primary objective. He stated that his government is committed to resolving conflicts and addressing global food security challenges. According to him, Brazil’s remarkable technological advancements in agriculture have enabled a transformation from a food-importing nation to a food-exporting powerhouse. Over the past five decades, Brazil managed to produce 580% more food grains than required, a testament to their commitment to global food security, the minister told media persons in response to a question.
In response to questions about fires in the Amazon forests, Minister Fávaro clarified that Brazil comprehends the critical importance of forests. Brazil has reduced forest cutting by 50 percent and forest fires, often initiated by criminals, have decreased tenfold. These efforts signify the South American nation’s commitment to environmental preservation.

Earlier in the day, Shobha Karandlaje, Minister of State, interacted with the Brazilian delegation, led by Carlos Fávaro. During this interaction, she highlighted the successful bilateral agricultural trade between the two countries. Her recognition of the potential for further collaboration in food processing, agro-industry, and agricultural research and development demonstrates the opportunities for growth.

Karandlaje’s observation of the growing demand for avocados in India presents a promising avenue for cooperation. Brazil’s willingness to open its market to various agricultural products and expedite negotiations related to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures showcases their commitment to strengthening trade relations.

The Brazilian delegation’s insights into their agricultural best practices, including the use of drip irrigation in the horticulture sector, emphasized the potential for collaboration in fruit production. Apex Brazil, the Brazilian trade and investment promotion agency, echoed the need for trade relations to match the potential of both nations. Their efforts to map investment opportunities in both countries underpin the commitment to expanding economic ties.

Furthermore, Brazil extended an official invitation to India for the forthcoming 2024 G20 presidency, marking a significant step in strengthening international cooperation.
Brazil emerges as a formidable partner for India, capable of supplying essential proteins, be it in the form of vegetable or animal protein, to supplement the dietary needs of the population. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s government has revitalized Brazil’s standing in the international agribusiness market. Within a mere 10 months, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (Mapa), secured access to 55 new markets for the export of Brazilian agribusiness products.

These newly accessible markets encompass an impressive array of products, including beef, pork, poultry, bivalve mollusks, fertile eggs, cattle and buffalo embryos, poultry, pork, fish meal, chewable pet food, cotton, açaí juice, and more. What’s remarkable is that these markets span the globe, with countries such as India, Mexico, Chile, and many others included.

The visiting minister presented the largest sustainable food production programme in the world — a groundbreaking initiative. The programme envisions the transformation of 40 million hectares of low-productivity pastures into arable land, doubling the area available for food production in Brazil without resorting to deforestation. This programme is expected to set an inspiring example for sustainable agriculture worldwide.

Trade discussions between Brazil and India are centered on expanding market access for an array of products. Brazil is keen on exporting fresh avocados, citrus fruits, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and yerba mate powder to India. On the other hand, India is interested in exporting sorghum, millet, coconut water, milk and dairy products, meat, and meat products to Brazil.

Brazilian agribusiness exports to India reached a significant $2.95 billion in 2022, showcasing the robust trade relationship between the two nations. Furthermore, India’s decision to open its market for Brazilian açaí juice in May 2023 is a testament to their strengthening trade ties.

In essence, Brazil and India are poised to foster closer cooperation in agriculture to tackle global food security challenges. The importance of cooperative production and marketing, diplomatic relations, and sustainable practices cannot be overstated in this endeavor. 
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