Trade portal launched for easier business between India and Africa, to work as market intelligence platform for F&B sector

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New Delhi | Published: January 23, 2019 8:10:23 PM

This platform will help in realising opportunities between India and Africa, which needs to be capitalized by requisite efforts and germane trade policies.

India, africa, Trade portal, Trade portal launched, market intelligence, F&B sector, Ministry of External Affairs, economy newsDelegates from the African nations including South Africa recommended that India should initiate FTA negotiations with South Africa or overall Africa for easy market access. (Reuters)

A trade portal between India-Africa as market intelligence platform to facilitate the traders of both the region in food and beverages (F&B) trade has been launched by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED). This platform will help in realising opportunities between India and Africa, which needs to be capitalized by requisite efforts and germane trade policies.

At a recently concluded Indus Food Edition II, organised by the Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) with the support of Department of Commerce, one of the most important issue which was raised by the delegates from the African continent was on advance payments.

Also, with Africa recently signing intercontinental free trade agreement (FTA); which would allow movement of goods across the continent, delegates from the African nations including South Africa recommended that India should initiate FTA negotiations with South Africa or overall Africa for easy market access.

“African importers feel little sceptical while importing F&B consignments from India as they have to make 50% advance payments. They expressed the concern of not being protected as sometimes the quality of consignments is unacceptable which results in bad taste of business,” explained a senior officer.

Most of the African lands are arable and fertile, thus capable of producing major agricultural commodities. India and African countries can mutually get benefits through skills transfer or skills exchange and technology transfer in a complimentary approach.

According to TPCI, Indian exporters discussed with delegates from Africa about various F&B products like basmati rice, Indigenous snacks and food products, ready to eat snacks which they see as a potential products for exporting it to African economies.

Other potential products for Indian exporters include sweet biscuits, cashew nuts and fruit juices. Also potential products for African countries which can be exported to India included black tea, chickpeas, dried leguminous vegetables and some cereals.

As has been reported by The Financial Express online for deepening the trade partnership between India and Africa, with the support of Ministry of External Affairs, the government of Kerala tried to ensure level-playing field for raw cashew cultivate on and cashew nut processing industry on both sides.

Plans have been made to source raw cashew nuts, negotiate prices and to ensure more work days to around three-lakh labourers in cashew factories in Kerala so as to have a win-win situation.

One of the main challenges the cashew nut sector faces is the mismatch between demand and supply on its requirement of around 7 lakh million tonne of raw cashew in a year. Faced with a requirement of 8 lakh tonne of raw cashew nuts a year, only 0.83 lakh tonne is being produced in the state. The rest has to be imported.

Indian imports from Africa, on the other hand, increased from $ 20 billion in 2007-08 to $ 28 billion in 2016-17 accounting for 7.5 percent of total Indian imports. Indian imports from Africa grew at a compound annual growth rate of around 4 per cent.

According to sources, “South Africa continues to be the leading export destination for India as of March 2017 with total exports at $3.5 billion accounting for around 15.4 percent of India’s total exports to Africa. India’s other major export partners in 2016-17 include Kenya, Egypt, Tanzania and Nigeria. These regions together account for around 34 per cent of total Indian exports to Africa.”

Nigeria accounts for about 26 per cent of India’s total imports. The other major importing countries from Africa include South Africa, Angola, Ghana and Botswana. These African countries together account for about 40 per cent of India’s total imports from Africa.

India’s key export during 2016-2017 to Africa was petroleum products, which was around 17 per cent of the total exports. Other major export items included pharmaceutical products, vehicles other than railway or tramway, machinery and equipment, and cereals.

Africa’s development is a huge opportunity for India, just as Africa’s resources play a key role in driving India’s economic growth, while creating wealth and jobs in Africa. The continent’s progress will add great stability and momentum to the global economy and benefit India as well.

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