Piyush Goyal 20190924
Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister of Railways and Minister of Commerce and Industry Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: UAE entities are expected to invest up to $7 billion (Dh25 billion) in India’s food sector in the next three years as part of the UAE-India food corridor project that aims to secure the UAE’s food security, an Indian minister told Emirates News Agency, WAM.

These entities, coordinated by Dubai-based Emaar Group, plan to invest up to $5 billion in mega food parks and similar facilities in various Indian cities, and up to $2 billion in contract farming, sourcing of agro commodities and related infrastructure, Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister of Railways and Minister of Commerce and Industry, has revealed.

Emaar in a statement issued to WAM on Tuesday said, "Emaar Group is coordinating with the Government of India in respect of the investment relating to food security in the UAE. The investment will be made by other UAE entities, the details of which will be declared at a later stage."

It was reported earlier that the idea of the joint food corridor for the UAE’s food security was inspired by India’s strategic petroleum reserve in Padur in south India, in partnership with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC. Likewise, the UAE could have a food reserve in India.

"They [UAE entities] have expressed their interest to invest up to $5 billion in mega food parks, logistics and warehouse hubs, fruits and vegetable hubs in various Indian cities, which would create 200,000 jobs across India," said the minister who was in the UAE earlier this week on an official visit.

The proposed projects are in various cities, such as mega food parks in Kutch in western state of Gujarat and Aurangabad in western state of Maharashtra, Goyal said.

A food park in Pawarkheda in central state of Madhya Pradesh, logistics and warehouse hub in Itarsi in Madhya Pradesh, fruits and vegetables hub in Nashik and warehousing hub in Bhiwandi in Maharashtra are other projects, he explained.

The UAE entities plan to make an indicative investment up to US$2 billion in contract farming, sourcing of several agro commodities, setting up of food parks and other related infrastructure for food processing, the minister said.

They are considering western Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra for the proposed projects and the possibility of eight food parks is being currently evaluated, Goyal revealed.

The food export possibilities to the UAE and wider region are explored, which will turn into a win-win situation for both India and UAE, he said.

Reports in 2018 said that India had suggested to the UAE leadership it could be a partner in the UAE’s food security.

Although India grows enough food for its 1.3 billion people, 30 per cent of that food is wasted for lack of appropriate infrastructure for storage, processing and transportation, which could be built by the UAE’s investments.

The UAE can buy the food produced by the project at a cheaper price while Indian farmers will get a comparatively better price for their crops.