Stock - India Food
UAE investment flows into India's agricultural sector could have a decisive impact, especially for crop growing states such as the Punjab and Maharashtra. Image Credit: Agency

Dubai: Eight food processing units to be set up in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh with UAE funding is being explored, as the two countries work on a broader alliance on food security.

This will also extend to managing the food supply chains. For instance, DP World is exploring “synergies” for offering integrated supply chain solutions, while DMCC’s (Dubai Multi Commodities Centre) has an agriculture trading platform - ‘Agriota’ - inking farmers in India with food companies in the UAE in an effort to boost food imports from India.

This was confirmed by Juma Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary - Foreign Trade Affairs at UAE’s Ministry of Economy at the India-UAE Food Summit in Dubai.

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Corridor is in business

Last year, it was announced that UAE entities would invest up to $7 billion (Dh25 billion) in India’s food sector over three years as part of the UAE-India food corridor project that aims to secure the Gulf country’s food security needs. The corridor is expected to benefit 2 million Indian farmers and create an additional 200,000 jobs through the establishment of logistics infrastructure and agricultural projects.

“Considering our strategic relationship, I strongly believe that this is a very opportune time for UAE and India to escalate food security cooperation,” said Ahmed Al Banna, UAE’s Ambassador to India.

“I congratulate the Indian government for the recently introduced production linked incentives scheme, and the ten key sectors approved by the Indian Union Cabinet.”

India’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme will give firms incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured at manufacturing and processing units in the country.

Punjab offers its bounty

A Minister from the Punjab government, Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, invited UAE investors to get into food processing in the state, which is one of the country’s largest producers of crops.

India’s new farming laws will help the country’s farmers by removing the middlemen from the equation, said Sharafuddin Sharaf, Vice-Chairman of Sharaf Group.

Empowering agri industry

“The Indian government is taking major initiatives that aim to boost India's food trade, including new laws introduced to empower farmers in India by giving them direct access to the market and self-reliant packages,” said Sharaf. “Given the current regime of transparency and time bound responses by the Government, the gestation period for projects will surely reduce further.

“We as investors have already started to put into place our business plan,” said Sharaf. “We're not only providing logistics services, but actually permitting our investments on the ground in India to build multi- modal logistics facilities, including rail depots.”