India is working on an agreement with South Africa to import pulses to meet its domestic consumption requirements and curb price rise.
South Africa had sent a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) to the Indian government regarding procurement of pulses and lentil (masoor dal).
Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh today met his South African counterpart Senzeni Zokwana on the sidelines of the BRICS agri-meet and asked him to finalise the MoU at the earliest.
“We have received a draft of the MoU on procurement of pulses from South Africa. The MoU has been slightly revised and sent to your High Commission in New Delhi. We hope that the MoU is finalised soon and ready for signature,” Singh said in a statement.
The MoU focuses on procurement of pulses and lentil form South Africa as well has enhancing production of pulses, he said.
With shortfall of about 7 million tonnes of pulses, India has started exploring government-to-government arrangement to import pulses. Recently, it has entered into agreement with Mozambique and is also looking at Brazil.
The draft MoU also focuses on cooperating with South Africa in the areas of research and production of seeds and provide farmers with agriculture extension services.
To boost bilateral trade between the two countries, Singh said South Africa should consider importing grapes, wheat, sugar, soybean, groundnut and cotton from India.
Stating that South African is importing these products from other countries, he said, “I request you to kindly look into this and give Indian suppliers the opportunity to meet your requirements.”
In 2015-16 fiscal, India’s total agri-exports to South Africa was USD 218.72 million and import was only USD 22.40 million, he added.
The overall bilateral trade between the two countries is at USD 9.5 billion.