Food production must proceed on a war footing in Asia and Africa: Mukherjee

New Delhi, Feb.5: Highlighting the food production imbalance that exists between the developed and developing world, President Pranab Mukherjee has said a shift in focus towards the development of horticultural crops and food processing industry can provide the impetus necessary for the overall growth of the agricultural sector.

Emphasing that Asia and Africa still form a majority of the world’s hungry population, Mukherjee said: “This cannot continue any further. Food production has to proceed in a business-unusual manner; on a war footing.”

Africa, he said, has tremendous scope for benefiting from the development of the food processing industry, while India can provide training in post harvest management of different crops and provide assistance in developing packaging technology in line with world standards.

“India has requisite expertise for each level of the value chain and can assist African countries in developing the same,” Mukherjee said after inaugurating the Asia-Africa AgriBusiness Forum at the FICCI Auditorium here on Tuesday evening.

“Access to agriculture markets and finance as well as greater public private partnership in agri-business and the food processing sectors in Asia and Africa are essential to unleash their potential,” he added.

“There is need to introspect as to why despite availability of agricultural labour and sizeable arable land, many Asian and African countries have witnessed spiralling food prices. The challenge is to translate the woes into business opportunities. There is need for both the continents to overcome the challenges through symbiotic associations,” the President said.

“Partnerships must aim at developing the agri-business sector into an efficient business enterprise capable of competing in other international markets,” he added.

He said he was heartened to note that the agenda of the business forum includes forging new business partnerships, sharing best practices and new technologies, and exploring project finance and funding options. (ANI)