Mumbai, May 04, 2022: The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri. Narendra Singh Tomar, successfully launched the Asia Bio Ag Forum, a two-day conclave held by the Agriculture Today Group at National Agriculture Science Centre (NASC), New Delhi. The objective of the forum, which was scheduled for the 20th and 21st of April, 2022, was to promote and boost the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices and ensure food and nutritional security, as well as farmer prosperity, across Asia.
Day two of the forum also hosted an exclusive CEOs session on global opportunities for India. On the Chair and Co-Chair was Dr William Dar, Agriculture Minister – Philippines; and Mr. H.E. Dr Manoj Nardeosingh, Secretary-General, AARDO. Other dignitaries that were present for the event included Dr Rattan Lal, Renowned Soil Health Scientist and World Food Prize Laureate; Dr Tarun Bajaj, Director, APEDA; Dr MJ Saxena, Managing Director, Ayurvet; Mr Sanjay Sethi, Executive Director, Plant-Based Foods Industry Association; and Dr Neelam Patel, Senior Advisor Agriculture, NITI Aayog.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri. Narendra Singh Tomar, the Union Agriculture Minister, said, “Agriculture has always been a subject of priority, and it has time and again proved its relevance even in adverse conditions. The aim of hosting this event was to take initiatives that bring great prosperity to farmers. The government’s intent hereon is to eliminate the practice of middlemen in the agriculture value chain so that the farmers get a fair price for their products and do not face discrimination of any manner. I assure that we are also taking efforts to make agriculture and farmers connected with the latest technology.”
Mr Sanjay Sethi, Executive Director of PBFIA, highlighted three trends shaping the plant-based food sector- a) sustainability, b) the tsunami of entrepreneurs and consumer focus on health c) the treatment of food and diet as a means of medicine.
“The country did not perform well in processed food products. However, there is a huge market opening up in the rest of the world for value-added proteins. India is a protein surplus country as we do not consume as much compared to the rest of the world. Moreover, the country can increase production to match domestic needs and meet export demand”.
Sanjay, further added, “Plenty of young entrepreneurs are entering the plant-based food sector, and they need guidance concerning the preparation of safe foods as per the regulations laid by the regulatory authorities. Therefore, optimum training, handholding and mentoring support become essential. A joint task can provide valuable support to not just institutes like NIFTEM but to hundreds of other institutes breeding young scientists and entrepreneurs. The other potential opportunity can come from pea production and processing amidst the geo-political changes caused by Ukraine- Russia war. The demand for pea protein to formulate value-added products is witnessing a tremendous rise globally. Ukraine was one of the largest suppliers of a pea to the world, and the current situation can open doors for several other countries. Additionally, there is a need to bring a component of technology into the food production system. Wherein we can save soil, water bodies and reduce air pollution. Including mention of the carbon footprint of food choices as a labelling requirement”.
Dr William Dar, Agriculture Minister of Philippines, Mr Hugo Javier Gobbi, Ambassador of Argentina in India, and Dr Douglas Ry Wagner, Global CEO, AlgaeEnergy, Spain, stressed that cooperation between nations is key to the global adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.
The conclave successfully concluded by the end of 21st April, 2022, with a brief presentation of BioAg Asia Awards 2022 and a vote of thanks.