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India European Union together in Agriculture Sector

India European Union together in Agriculture Sector:

#GS2 #Bilateral Relations #GS3 #Agriculture

Context: Recently, A Virtual meeting between Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar and Member of European Commission-Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, was held.

Highlights of the meet:

  • During the meeting, strong momentum of India-EU relations especially since the last India European Union Summit in July, 2020 was acknowledged
  • Both discussed EU Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and the recent India market reforms, UN Food System Summit, EU Farm to Fork Strategy and bilateral cooperation.
  • India has asked the European Commission to fix the issue surrounding the Maximum Residual Limit (MRL) of Tricyclazole, a fungicide used for the control of rice blast but it is not approved for use in the European Union.
    • As a result of this, Basmati rice exports to the EU are affected.
    • The volume of annual basmati rice exports to the EU is around 10% of the country’s annual aromatic rice shipment.
    • According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, all the required studies and documents have been submitted to the EU in May-2021 and MRL will be fixed by the second quarter of 2022 before next season.
    • In the case of MRL for Tricyclazole, rice-importing countries do not have uniform tolerance limits. The US and Japan has fixed MRL at 3 PPM. However, the US does not allow the presence of pesticide residue like Isoprothiolane beyond 0.01 PPM.
  • The Member of European Commission, Agriculture explained in detail the recent reforms undertaken by EU in Common Agriculture Policy as well as EU Farm to Fork Strategy in order to make agriculture green & sustainable.
  • EU side also underlined that; EU has set a target of bringing 25 per cent of area in EU under Organic Farming by 2030.
  • Indian side explained the scenario of agriculture in India, dominance of small farmers and commitment of Government of India for welfare of farmers in India.
    • Recent initiatives taken by Government to increase farmer’s income, launch of Agriculture Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of Rs One Lakh Crore for development of farm gate and agriculture marketing infrastructure in rural areas, scheme of formation of 10000 FPOs were explained to EU.
    • Indian side enlisted the steps being taken by the Government of India to make agriculture sustainable and environment friendly which included encouragement of application of nano-urea and Organic Farming under the Pramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana.
    • And highlighted the initiative of encouraging organic farming on either sides of Ganga River up to 5 km through formation of clusters wherein 11 lakh farmers have already enrolled.
  • Agriculture Minister of India also acknowledged India’s support to UN Food Systems Summit and informed EU delegation he will lead Indian delegation to Pre-Summit being organized from July 26th to 28th, 2021.

EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP):

  • Launched in 1962, it is a partnership between agriculture and society, and between Europe and its farmers.
  • Support farmers and improve agricultural productivity, ensuring a stable supply of affordable food;
  • Safeguard European Union farmers to make a reasonable living;
  • Help tackle climate change and the sustainable management of natural resources;
  • Maintain rural areas and landscapes across the EU;
  • Keep the rural economy alive by promoting jobs in farming, agri-foods industries and associated sectors.
  • It is a common policy for all EU countries.
  • The CAP is financed through two funds as part of the EU budget:
    • the European agricultural guarantee fund (EAGF) provides direct support and funds market measures;
    • The European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD) finances rural development.

EU Farm to Fork Strategy:

The Farm to Fork Strategy aims to accelerate our transition to a sustainable food system that should:

  • Have a neutral or positive environmental impact
  • Help to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts
  • Reverse the loss of biodiversity
  • Ensure food security, nutrition and public health, making sure that everyone has access to sufficient, safe, nutritious, sustainable food
  • Preserve affordability of food while generating fairer economic returns, fostering competitiveness of the EU supply sector and promoting fair trade
  • The strategy sets out both regulatory and non-regulatory initiatives, with the common agricultural and fisheries policies as key tools to support a just transition.

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