India, New Zealand agree to increase cooperation in agriculture

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New Delhi, Mar 24 : India and New Zealand today agreed to increase cooperation in agriculture and sort out issues relating to bio-security at the earliest.

In the delegation-level discussions, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar proposed to have an 'umbrella agreement' to raise the level of cooperation into a range of issues in the agriculture sector.

New Zealand's Agriculture, Bio-Security, Fisheries and Forestry Minister, Jim Anderton, is on a visit to India at the invitation of Agriculture Minister Pawar.

India and New Zealand already have a MoU on plant quarantine issues. A tripartite MoU among Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the Land Care Research and Massey University, New Zealand is also being discussed and will be signed as soon as all clearances are available.

The proposed umbrella agreement between the two will cover agriculture and allied activities, including food processing, agricultural research, phytosanitary issues relating to trade in plants and animal products, engagement of private sector of both the countries and exchange of information in the areas of mutual interest.

The proposed agreement would supplement other efforts being made by the two Governments to strengthen cooperation and encourage trade.

The two ministers agreed that there is tremendous potential for cooperation between the two countries considering complementarity between agriculture, horticulture, environment and related areas.

The visiting New Zealand team is scheduled to hold discussions with the Agriculture Minister of Maharashtra later this week.

ANI

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