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AIBC launches Agribusiness Chapter and showcases huge bilateral opportunities ahead
The bilateral business and economy discussions held at the virtual Australian and Indian Prime Ministers summit in June during which nine Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) agreements were signed carried one unanimous message “time is ripe now”.
Agriculture Cooperation and water resources management were included in the above CSP as Agriculture is an important pillar of the Australian and Indian economies with shared challenges.
The good news is the Agribusiness sector will remain a growth sector in both Australia and India in 2021 and beyond despite the Covid 19 impact in both the countries.
Keeping this in mind, on 30th of July 2020, Australia India Business Council (AIBC) the peak body facilitating bi-lateral trade and investment between Australia and India organised a high profile webinar to launch the AIBC Agribusiness Chapter, with key note speakers and panellists  including ,  Honorable David Littleproud MP – Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, Mr Manish Gupta – Consul General of India, Sydney, Mr. Tony Russell,  Executive Manager – Grains Market Access Forum, Mr Manek Gupta – President, Glencore Agriculture India Pvt Ltd, Mr Adrian Murphy – President , Grains Industry Association  Victoria ,  Ms. Shantha Raman – Senior Partner, Law Offices of India, Mr Peter Creaser – First Assistant Secretary, Dept of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Mr. Sumit Rao Director – Imperial Malts Ltd, India.
Mr Jim Varghese, National Chair AIBC, in his opening remarks said “Covid-19 has created some new opportunities for many Australian agricultural businesses to move away from China, their traditional long-standing partner. The agribusiness between Australia and India offers a huge range of opportunities including food products, agricultural machinery, food processing, food wastage, supply chain, storage and logistics and water management and harvesting. These identified opportunities are in line with the India Economic Strategy by the Federal Government (Peter Varghese report) and Australia Economic Strategy by Ambassador Anil Wadhwa  It is the right time for AIBC to capitalise such an opportunity to identify and develop suitable partners in  India for the Australian agricultural businesses.”
Mr Con Livissianis, Chair of the AIBC Agribusiness Chapter stated “The Agribusiness sector in India will be seeing a huge growth in coming years.  The Barley Crisis and Cotton are typical examples. Many Australian companies have started showing interest in India. The AIBC Agribusiness Chapter will strive to forge long term business to business relationships in Agriculture between Australia and India. Collaboration and cooperation between the businesses will be promoted to maximise benefits of opportunities. There are also significant challenges such as Tariffs to be addressed. However, we need to be patient as India is too big to ignore.”
Launching the AIBC Agribusiness Chapter, Hon. David Littleproud, Minister for Agriculture, Drought ad Emergency Management said “This is an important step by AIBC to promote bilateral agricultural trade and supply chain. Australia has several free trade agreements with many countries including the latest one with Indonesia.  We will aspire to formalise the comprehensive trade agreement with India including agriculture, which will benefit both our countries. Regional Australia will also greatly benefit.  Australia can partner with India for Agri Research and Development and Supply chain. There is a real opportunity in R&D. Barley offers a significant market which needs to be pursued in a pragmatic way. Another key strategy is to develop such opportunities for commercialisation. Water is also an important issue to be considered. There are vast opportunities in water irrigation. Let us move forward with pace to take advantage of such window of opportunity.  Our partnership with India is long lasting.”
Congratulating AIBC for the Agribusiness Chapter launch Mr Manish Gupta, Consul General of India said “This is the most important chapter, as Agriculture is touching the lives of millions of people. There is a lot of scope in the Agricultural market and the role of Australia is important with a lot of complimentary areas of strength. Australia can contribute to the value addition of the agricultural sector in India, which is a key priority. The Government of India has launched the National Agricultural Market and announced reforms including eTrading encouraging 100% investment in Agri eCommerce.  Aqua Culture, Food parks are some areas Govt. of India is focussing.  Collaboration in Agri research, Water management, B2B partnerships and Start-ups are opportunities to be pursued to achieve significant trade outcomes”.
Mr Tony Russell, Executive Manager – Grains Market Access Forum outlining the opportunities and challenges said “The market in pulses is significant. Some of the challenges in the Agribusiness with India are Tariff, quarantine, and fumigation methods. Opportunities include modernising Indian supply chain, grain storage management and Food Security.”
Mr Manek Gupta, President- Glencore Agriculture India Pvt Ltd provided an excellent analysis of the bilateral trade figures in grains, pulses, chickpeas, barley and cotton, tariff structures. Mr Manek Gupta highlighted specific opportunities in pulses, grains and cotton moving forward.
Mr Adrian Murphy, President – Grains Industry Association Victoria said “This is an ideal time for AIBC to bring together Agribusiness importers and exporters. Such forums will facilitate better understanding of likely issues caused due to negative impact, ensure better market interaction leading to free trade. Research is critical to Agribusiness. There is great potential and a case for promoting Australian Barley in India. Australia believes in offering world class quality Agri- products offering great values and engaging in fair negotiations. Such seminars are helpful to move forward.”
Ms. Shantha Raman, Senior Partner, Law Offices of India elaborated on the current and applicable laws in India in regards to protection of Australian patents and intellectual property of the Australian Agri products in India, extension of patents and IP and over riding provisions of World Trade Organisation agreement. Shantha stated that there are also Indian laws to protect enforceability, deal with infringements and include arbitration mechanisms.
Mr Peter Creaser, First Assistant Secretary, Dept of Agriculture, Water and the Environment who is also the Co-Chair of bilateral Technical Market Access program for Plants elaborated on the program, bio security issues and ongoing challenges. Mr Creaser presented a case study on pomegranate and highlighted the risk assessment processes involved for other Agri products. Mr Creaser stated that “We are progressing, and we can work together for capacity building.”
Mr Sumit Rao Director – Imperial Malts Ltd, India presented an overview of the barley market in India including opportunities in the malt segment said “There are ongoing challenges such as quarantine requirements, price parity etc. But we can do a lot together to promote Australian barley in India as there is a huge opportunity in front of us.”
Mr Vish Viswanathan, AIBC Chair of Make in India Chapter, presented a Vote of Thanks to Hon. Minister David Littleproud, Consul General of India, Mr Manish Gupta, keynote speakers and participants.
Mr Jim Varghese, National Chair, AIBC concluded the successful Agribusiness launch event quoting “Pragmatism, Open Dialogue and Supply chain” the three key words from Hon. David Liitleproud, Federal Minister as success mantras to progress on bilateral Agri trade.
AIBC will continue to work with Australian and Indian Industry to provide platforms to promote agricultural services, consulting and technologies.
The AIBC is a not-for-profit organisation facilitating and linking businesses, exporters, and investors in Australia and India.

Mr Jim Varghese AM, National Chair, Australia India Business Council Ltd.
E:      M: +61 474 739 479

Mr. Con Livissianis, Chair – AIBC Agribusiness Chapter
E:  M: +61 419 418 898