India and Italy sign agreement on food processing

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (UNI)India and Italy today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), on Cooperation in the Agri Food Sector, committing themselves to its promotion.

The MoU between Italy and India on Mega Food Park will create 'win-win situation' for both the countries and their business partners said Mr Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution who was present during the signing ceremony.

The Italian delegation expressed interest to establish a Joint Food Testing Laboratory in Kolkata, West Bengal. A draft project report has already been sent from India through diplomatic channel, which can be further progressed and finalised quickly.

Similar such exercise of benchmarking with some of Indian Food Testing Laboratories by UK is already under process. If such facilities are established in India, where the relevant international standards, whether UK or EU or FDA, are adhered to, there will be more and more acceptance of Indian processed food products to foreign countries.

Today's agreement was penned by Mr Subodh Kant Sahai, Indian Minister of State (Independent Charge for Food Processing Industries and Mr Paolo De Castro, Italian Minister for Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies.

Italian Food Processing Industry is the second manufacturing sector of the country and the first industry sector in Europe, which has a turnover of Euro 170 billion with 35 million employees and 33,000 companies.

Italy is also the world's largest exporter of food processing machinery and equipments followed by Germany and USA.

On the other hand, India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. But the level of processing is only about 2.2 per cent. The strength of Italy can be gainfully utilised by India where the raw material is available and Italy can bring in their vast expertise in processing technology and R&D.

The memorandum aims at establishing a Knowledge Based Partnership between the two countries and create an enabling environment for a long term partnership between the industries of the two countries.

It proposes to facilitate creation of a "Joint Foundation" for exchange of know-how and technology between Indian and Italian Agro Food enterprises for the promotion of the Agro Food Sector.

It will also aim at creation of business joint ventures, support to research and development activities, setting up of Agro-Food Parks etc in India. It also provides creation of an Agro Food Park in India within a period of 18 months from the date of signing the memorandum.

UNI/JSS AK RK1938

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