SA Agri Summit: Increase in agricultural production, access to market emphasized

KATHMANDU: Stakeholders have emphasized the need to increase agricultural production and ensure access to the market in order to ensure food security in South Asia.

During the first South Asia Agri Summit jointly organised by Bharat Subcontinent Agri Foundation (BSAF), TEFLA and Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) in Kathmandu, policymakers and businesspersons said that since non-customs barriers have started increasing in international trade recently, it needs to be reformed.

FNCCI President Shekhar Golchha said that the summit will help in the marketing of Nepali products. In the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), although there is an opportunity to expand trade between the countries of this region, there are problems with non-custom barriers in the export of agricultural products. FNCCI President Golchha opined that concessions should be increased within the country and easy access to the international market should be ensured for the smooth export of profitable goods from Nepal,

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Trade, Commerce and Food Security Nalin Fernando said 40% of the farmers in the South Asian region were marginal farmers and stressed that initiatives should be taken to increase their productivity and ensure the market. He mentioned that the export cost of the agricultural sector is very expensive and many countries in this region import agricultural products. So, special efforts are needed to ensure food security. He also expressed his belief that the joint effort of South Asian countries would help ensure food security and increase farmers’ income.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), said South Asia can benefit from the Dubai market. He said that businesses based on blockchain and other technologies can be used to expand the agricultural market.

Toya Narayan Gyawali, Secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, who was invited to the summit as a special guest, said discussion at the summit will help in promoting export and investment and stressed the importance of prioritising investment. He opined that increasing investment would help in export promotion and import substitution.

He stressed that all countries under SAFTA should reduce the items on the sensitive index to benefit and remove non-customs barriers. He also said South Asia can become a superpower in the field of agriculture in the world if the countries can increase the use of technology and remove trade barriers. There are about 400 participants from 12 countries in the summit that will continue till today.


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