Venkat Raman –
New Zealand is helping India to improve its food safety standards, increase yield from land and grow better crops, a Minister of the Crown has said.
Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew said that there are a number of areas in which New Zealand has been cooperating with India to promote its objectives of boosting agricultural output.
“Our apple industry is collaborating with a University in Himachal Pradesh to increase the quality and quantity of apple output. The project began in 2013 and has seen the value of apple output increase to US$ 534 million. This is set to rise to more US$ 2 billion by 2030,” she said.
Ms Goodhew was speaking at a panel session on ‘Tech, Food Processing and Future Collaborations’ at the Annual Summit of the India New Zealand Business Council (INZBC) held on June 13, 2016 at Langham Hotel in Auckland.
“We are keen to promote closer relations with India and we are hopeful that further negotiations for a viable Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will start soon,” she said.
She said that INZBC played a critical role in promoting bilateral trade with India.
Outlining the measures being taken by her government to promote agriculture, farming and related industries, she said that the establishment of the ‘New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre’ in Wellington in May 2016 as a partnership between government, industry organisations and research institutions.
“This is a virtual Centre that will see the best scientists around the country collaborating on work programmes that cut across different food and beverage sectors. It has been established in response to a key recommendation from the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident,” Ms Goodhew said.
She said that agritech will enable New Zealand to boost its productivity and exports.
ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley was the moderator of the Panel which comprised Gareth Evans, General Manager, Autogrow Systems, Ross Townshend, Chairman, RML Engineering, Earl Rattray, Representative, Engender Technologies and Dr Frank Scrimgeour, Director, Institute for Business Research, University of Waikato.
More than 200 people attended the INZBC Summit 2016, with its theme, ‘Growing for Tomorrow: Spotlight Agritech.’ Among them were decision makers in ministries, government organisations and agencies, private sector companies, exporters, importers and traders in either country.
Prime Minister John Key spoke at the final session of the Summit.
The Summit was a culmination of a series of discussions, stemming from a Memorandum of Understanding signed by INZBC with the New Zealand Fieldays Society, the foremost organisation of the country’s agricultural sector.
The Summit preceded the annual four-day Fieldays, held from June 15 to June 18, 2016 at Mystery Creek Events Centre, Hamilton.
Jo Goodhew at the INZBC Summit