AGRICULTURE minister David Littleproud met with his Indian counterpart Narendra Singh Tomar this week to discuss improving trade between the two countries.

The two ministers discussed the agricultural trading relationship including the India-Australia Grains Partnership, improved market access and closer co-operation.

Mr Littleproud said the meeting was important.

“It is a true testament to the strength of our bilateral relationship that we were able to meet today given the challenging COVID-19 situation in India,” he said.

“The key to this relationship is building on and increasing agricultural trade between our two great countries – even small gains can mean large value for Australian exporters.

“Last year, we committed to the India-Australia Grains Partnership, and through this we aim to support closer grains industry relationships and share our expertise.

Mr Littleproud said this doesn’t stop at market access.

“Australians are experts in grains storage, handling and supply chains, and we wish to share this knowledge with the world to help improve food security,” he said.

“Australia can be a partner of choice of India, offering our expertise and supporting India to manage fluctuations in their domestic grain supply.”

Mr Littleproud said access to safe, reliable food will be more important than ever as India and the world recovers from COVID-19.

“We are also working with our Indian partners to resolve trade barriers and seek approval of improved market access conditions such as in-transit phosphine fumigation for export commodities, which will provide more treatment options for Australian exporters,” he said.

“We are proud to be able to play our part in improving food security to one of our most important trading partners.”   

Australia’s two-way agricultural trade with India was valued at over $1 billion in 2020. Australia’s key agricultural exports to India in 2020 were lentils, greasy wool, almonds, raw cotton and oats.

In 2020, Australia achieved market improvements for in-transit cold treatment of pome fruit, summer fruit and table grapes and the phosphine treatment of malting barley.

Market improvements for Australia grains, pulses and nuts (phosphine fumigation) are currently being negotiated along with market access for avocados.