Meat & Livestock News

Understanding India: A Key Task for Trade, Says Envoy

TL;DR: New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Hamish Marr, emphasises understanding India’s agricultural needs and culture as crucial for developing trade. He highlights the potential for mutual benefits through shared technology and practices in a recent 14-day trade mission.

The First Steps in Trade

New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Hamish Marr, emphasises the importance of understanding India’s agricultural sector. This understanding is crucial to opening trade doors. Marr recently returned from a 14-day trade mission to India, impressed by the potential of Indian agriculture.

The Complexity of Trade

“The issues are complicated,” Marr admits, reflecting on his visit. He acknowledges the complexity of enhancing trade relations between New Zealand and India. However, he believes that respecting India’s culture and goals is essential.

India’s Agricultural Might

India is a leading global producer of key agricultural products, including milk, pulses, rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnuts, vegetables, and fruit. Despite India’s vast production, Marr sees an opportunity for New Zealand to become a valuable trading partner.

Size and Impact

“Our scale versus theirs really struck me,” Marr says. He notes that although New Zealand exports significantly, it pales in comparison to India’s agricultural capacity. He stresses the importance of understanding what New Zealand can offer to India.

European Contrast and Subsidies

Marr compares his observations in India with those in European Union countries, noting significant differences in agricultural subsidies. He perceives EU subsidies as limiting production, primarily for food security and environmental concerns.

India’s Market Dynamics

Subsidies in India aim to boost local production. Marr notes, “India has a lot of mouths to feed,” with 65% of its population living in rural areas. The goal is to prevent urban overpopulation by improving rural livelihoods through technology and cooperatives.

New Zealand’s Role

Marr believes New Zealand can contribute technology and advanced farming practices to India. This collaboration could benefit both countries, enhancing mutual respect and building strong trade relationships.

Personal Insights from the Envoy

Appointed as the SATE in July, Marr, a seasoned farmer and Nuffield Scholar, brings an independent perspective to the role. He aims to represent New Zealand farmers in trade discussions, identifying opportunities and challenges that might otherwise be overlooked.

Challenges and Opportunities

Marr appreciates the efforts of New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in promoting market access and navigating border restrictions. He has also observed a growing focus on environmental sustainability among global consumers of New Zealand meat and dairy products.

The Global Perspective

Marr highlights the respect and curiosity global food producers have towards New Zealand’s agricultural capabilities. Despite being a small nation, New Zealand is recognized for the quality and reliability of its products.

Concluding Thoughts

Marr uses an analogy to describe New Zealand’s agricultural prowess, comparing it to the respect and caution other countries show towards the All Blacks rugby team. This comparison underscores the impact and reputation of New Zealand’s agricultural sector on the global stage.

In summary, understanding and respecting India’s agricultural framework is essential for developing beneficial trade relationships, according to New Zealand’s envoy.