Panelist at the 5th Global Economic Summit_WTC Mumbai 2015.
Panelist at the 5th Global Economic Summit_WTC Mumbai 2015.

Bhagyashree Phodkar

WORLD Trade Centre’s 5th Global Economic Summit 2015 brought together policy makers, government bodies, agro-business industry players, academicians, research organizations as well as farmers under one roof to conduct an open dialogue on the pressing global theme, ‘Enabling Food For All’.

The day opened with a session that showcased the significance of skill development and capacity building for the agriculture and food processing sector. Panelists from different corners of the world included Ms. Joanna Kane-Potaka from International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Dr. G. Sugumar, of Fisheries College and Research Institute, and Dr. Parashuram Samal from National Rice Research Institute, who in unison underscored the need to empower women and add them to mainstream agriculture through capacity building. The panel brought forward specific ideas such as developing high yielding varieties of crops, adopting partnership models that make farmers the owners and inclusive capacity building across the value chain that empowers.

As the Guest of Honour, Bhushan Gagrani, CEO, MIDC, presented the role MIDC plays in assisting farmers and agri-business entrepreneurs in the farm commodities value chain. “Maharashtra is the largest producer of fruits in India but there is a lag between production and processing of fruits. A conscious effort is being made to promote agriculture and food processing industries.” So far, seven food processing special industrial areas have been set up in Maharashtra, besides wine parks, floriculture and fruit-oriented food processing parks. He urged the participants to explore opportunities in food processing and supporting farmers to enable agriculture-based value addition in the state.

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Vijay Kalantri, Vice Chairman, World Trade Centre, Mumbai and President, All India Association of Industries, in his closing remarks shared that the delegation from Poland has inked an MoU with Karnataka and is aso planning to sign one with Maharashtra. He also shared about the Russian delegation’s interest in strengthening ties with India on science and technology, oil and gas and other sectors. “We have received lot of suggestions from participants and the research department of WTC, Mumbai would come out with a research paper on the challenges of the Indian agriculture and food processing sectors,” he added.

The 3-day summit culminated after generating a series of deliberations on the theme ‘Enabling Food for All’ geared towards helping India achieve the ‘Zero Hunger’ target and meet the country’s food safety and security vision. This one of its kind summit organised by WTC, Mumbai also enabled uninterrupted exchange of ideas through panel discussions, workshops, B2B meetings, exhibition and visit to farms and food clusters.

Participation from internationally renowned organisations including International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Programme (WFP), World Farmers Organisation (WFO), World Bank (WB), United Nations Procurement Division (UNPD) Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) and the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA), New York made the summit a grand success and helped identify measures to achieve sustainable rural development like never before

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