MINISTER for agriculture David Littleproud has applauded the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreed to on 4 June by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison of Australia and Narenda Modi of India.

“India is one of this nation’s great trading partners and our farmers, fishers and foresters already enjoy a two-way trading relationship worth $1bn,” Minister Littleproud said.

Australia’s two-way agricultural trade with India was valued at over $1bn in 2018, with Australia exporting $664m of agriculture, fisheries and forestry products.

“As minister for agriculture, it is my honour to champion Australian agribusiness under the India Economic Strategy we move this relationship to the next level, including through exploring the development of a bilateral partnership on grains management and logistics,” Mr Littleproud said.

Mr Littleproud said the timing of this partnership is critical in the context of COVID-19 as Australia looks to explore export opportunities for our farmers in a post-pandemic world where access to safe, reliable food will be more important than ever.

“I am very encouraged progress has been made on market access issues and the commitment of both sides to continue negotiations,” he said.

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“India is too big to ignore. It is projected to be the world’s third largest economy in the world by 2035 with 1.6bn citizens—and demand for food is set to outstrip supply.

“There are huge opportunities for Australia’s world-class, clean and safe products in this thriving market, but patience and persistence is required.

“We haven’t always seen eye to eye, but unlocking these opportunities demands a reliable trading partner and long-term commitment from both government and industry,” Mr Littleproud said.

The minister said the government is providing capacity building training to accept modern biosecurity treatments for our exports, and has posted a second agricultural counsellor in India.

“We’re working to improve Indian crop forecasting so Australian pulse farmers can make more informed decisions about what they plant each season.

“I look forward to representing Australian farmers in a trade relationship as it moves from strength to strength into the future.”

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