Latin America's surplus agricultural capacity useful to India: Ex-Ambassador

Latin America

He delivered a distinguished lecture on “Doing Business with Latin America” arranged by Ministry of External Affairs.

Visakhapatnam: The surplus agricultural capacity of Latin America is useful to India's food security in the long-term, said former Indian Ambassador to Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay R Viswanathan here at GITAM Deemed to be University on Saturday. He delivered a distinguished lecture on "Doing Business with Latin America" arranged by Ministry of External Affairs.

While addressing the gathering, he mentioned that India was facing serious water shortage and the water table in the main agricultural provinces including Punjab was going down due to indiscriminate and unsustainable pumping of ground water for irrigation of water-intensive crops such as rice and sugarcane.

On the other hand, South America has vast tracts of arable land and can bring in millions of hectares under cultivation with abundant water reserves as well as technology and best practices, he stated. Latin America has the potential to increase production to feed another 500 million more people which is highly helpful to India, he added.

He said the competition of Latin American crude and edible oil have put pressure on the monopoly suppliers of these items from the Middle East and South East Asia to offer to India lower prices and better terms.

He informed that Latin America contributes to India's strategic energy and food security by supplying 12 per cent of India's global imports of 117 billion dollars of crude and 22 per cent of India's vegetable oil. He mentioned that India was the third largest global destination of Latin American exports in 2018.

He observed that the trend has started since 2010 when the Indian exporters started exploring the Latin American market more seriously particularly even with longer shipping time and heavier freight cost, Indian goods have become competitive in Latin America. He briefed that Indian firms have invested over $10 billion in Latin America in sectors such as energy, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, auto parts and IT.

Latin American firms have invested about a billion dollars in India in areas such as soft drinks, multiplexes, theme parks and auto parts. This is a good time to accelerate the economic push into Latin America which has started attaching importance to India, he added

GITAM Deemed to be University Vice-Chancellor Prof K Sivaramakrishna presided over the function. GITAM Vice-President Prof M Gangadhra Rao, GITAM Institute of Management Director Prof Y Gowtham Rao and Programme Coordinator Dr Radha Raghuramapathruni participated in the programme.

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