New Delhi [India], December 9 (ANI): Acknowledging the role of Indian farmers towards global food security, the European Commission for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski said that both India and the European Union (EU) have huge potential to increase the trade relations.
The EU official said that the discussions regarding the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have been positive and the agreement regarding the protection of geographical indication will play a crucial role in promoting the food products of both India and the EU.
Speaking to ANI, Wojciechowski said, “The main target of this visit is to strengthen and improve trade relations between the European Union and India, and I am very satisfied after the meeting with representatives of Indian authorities and Indian business, I am accompanied by the most important sectors of the food system from the European Union”.
He said that the European food export to India was 1.4 billion Euros last year and Indian import to the EU was 3.7 billion Euros and there is potential to increase this trade further.
“The second reason is especially important and that I am under the impression of the success and achievements of Indian farmers… In India, agricultural production in the last decade increased by 24 percent from 2004 to 2020. This is a great achievement for all small farmers,” Wojciechowski added.
The EU official further praised the contribution of the Indian farmers for their productivity stating that it helped in ensuring global food security.
“…The Indian farmers, we should be thankful to them for their contribution to ensure global food security. And the small farmers…not bigger than 2 hectares. They managed only 12 per cent of agricultural land in the world, but they produce 35 per cent of food. This is the success story of Indian farmers and the majority of farmers in Asia. Because in Asian countries, the majority of farmers are very small, but they are very productive. We are thankful for them because food security is the global challenge for all of us,” he further said.
On being asked about the ongoing negotiations regarding the free trade deal, the EU official affirmed hope that his visit will be a positive step in the direction adding that the two countries need to strengthen their bilateral relations.
“My talks are very important because we have the Free Trade Agreement negotiations and we have an agreement about the protection of geographical indications…. And I hope that it will be helpful to improve our cooperation during the Free Trade negotiation agreement,” Wojciechowski added.
Speaking on the geographical indication, he said that the culture and protection of these regional products produced in the traditional way is very important for both India and the EU.
“I think that our agreement about the protection of geographical indication will be also very useful to promote our food both in India and the European Union. There are a lot of Indian restaurants in the European Union, also in Brussels. I like Indian food, which is very good, very healthy. And I hope that many consumers in India will think the same, will feel the same about European food. But we need to strengthen our bilateral relations,” he further said.