Conference on Challenges and
Way Forward for Agricultural Products Exports

10 November 2010 - Hotel Le Royal Meridien, Chennai

Agriculture, a core sector of the Indian economy, accounts for 30 per cent of the country's GDP, 20 per cent of total export earnings, two thirds of country's workforce and livelihood for 70 per cent of the total population. India's share in world production being nearly 10 per cent in fruits and 14 per cent in vegetables. India produces 50 per cent of world's mangoes, 19 per cent of banana, 36 per cent of cashew nut, more than 10 per cent of onion, 38 per cent of cauliflower, 28 per cent of green peas, etc. Despite all this, our share in the world exports of fruits and vegetables is only about 1 per cent. And it is only about 2 per cent of the fruits and vegetables produced in the country are processed and there is considerable potential to increase it to about 10 per cent.

India enjoys a comparative advantage in agriculture. Comparative advantage, in itself, is a relative concept and it depends upon the relative changes in the international market. A major difficulty faced by India in the international market is the high level of subsidies given by developed countries for their agri-exports. Hence, it is imperative to evolve concrete strategies to make Indian agriculture competitive and enhance its efficiency. For this purpose, on the one hand, we should be seeking substantial reduction in the support given to agriculture by developed countries, on the other hand, Indian agriculture would also require to be supported to maintain and improve its competitiveness.

The encouraging results of goal-oriented Green Revolution, White Revolution, Yellow Revolution etc. enthuse the agricultural fraternity of the country to set a new goal for 'Agri-Export Revolution' which is not only the need of the hour but also a compulsion to strengthen and revitalize the economy of the country. The past accomplishments of this sector are a great strength to face the current problems and future challenges in the areas of raising the level of productivity and quality standards to internationally competitive levels, greater efficiency (competitiveness), sustainability, poverty alleviation and continued food self-sufficiency.

Recent developments in the international trade scenario and corresponding alterations in India's foreign trade policies have depicted far reaching implications for India's agricultural sector in general and agricultural exports in particular. Hence, it is imperative to have a systematic and well-structured analysis to find alterations in the comparative advantage of India visa- vis other continent. The present goals of Indian agriculture warrant reformation of strategies and action plans. It is hence that we have conceived this conference with a value chain approach in mind and focusing on the emerging challenges and to identify ways and means of placing our country as a major player in the global export market for agricultural products. The conference will provide private entrepreneurs with an opportunity to get introduced to valued food industry knowledge and networks.

The objectives of the conference are to be a platform for knowledge sharing on challenging aspects of the agricultural products export's value chain. Agriculture value chains require technology inputs from production to marketing of primary and secondary products Key themes to be pondered over during the conference will include Products and Markets; Economics of International Trade; Export Potential from Tamil Nadu region and Policy and Support for Promoting International Trade.

The conference will be one of its kinds with the unique facilitations that will be provided as part of the conference for the B2B requirements of the delegates and much valued knowledge sharing from champions of industry and thought leaders from the government, industry and research institutions.

Around 150 senior personnel representing CEO's, Industry leaders & senior executives of leading manufacturers of processed & packaged foods, fresh produce, exporters; Retail chains and government agencies are expected to attend this conference.

I am writing to invite you to participate and also nominate senior officials from your organization to attend this important conference.

Please confirm your participation / nominations for the conference by filling up the enclosed registration form and send it to us by fax/email at the earliest (or) get in touch with
Mr K Samuel Johnson / Mr Selvaraj at 044 42 444 530 / 555
Email: k.s.johnson@cii.in / selvaraj@cii.in