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'India, Africa have to realise agri-business potential'

Posted on Feb 05 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Feb 5 : The challenge ahead for India and Africa is to realise the full potential of business opportunities in agriculture and agribusiness sectors, Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said Wednesday.

Displaying her first-hand experience of the African potential at the first Asia Africa Agri Business Forum, organised here by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the minister said: "The challenge ahead is to realise the full potential of the extant business opportunities that are available in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors."

"This alone will cater to the needs of the majority of over 2 billion people of Africa and India," she added.

As minister of state responsible for Africa, Preneet Kaur has travelled many times to the continent.

Pointing out the socio-economic growth will create a "new architecture for India-Africa engagement", especially for the private sector, she said "agriculture and agribusiness can form a major part of this cooperation as this sector is an important part of our economies".

There has been a 17-fold rise in India's trade with Africa from about USD 4 billion in 2001 to the current level of USD 70 billion, she said.

"The Pan-Africa e-Network Project, resource mapping and meteorological and other services, food testing laboratories, vocational training centres in food processing are but a few examples of our cooperation with Africa in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors," Preneet Kaur said.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between FICCI and the African Asian Rural Development Organisation (AARDO) was signed in the presence of the minister.

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