Sector Expertise

Food, Agriculture & Retail


Background

Background

The Food, Agriculture and Retail Executive Committee is made up of companies representing the entire farm-to-market supply chain. The Committee focuses on advocating policies under three overarching goals:

(1) Enhancing productivity
(2) Improving supply chain efficiency
(3) Leveraging global markets, products, and expertise to improve the investment environment in agriculture

Value to USIBC Members

· Delivers business intelligence on three sectors that make India one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for food, agriculture and retail

· Advises members on steps taken by the Government of India to open the market to foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail

· Supports introducing mechanization, irrigation and other modern methods to improve production in Indian agriculture, which accounts for 17% of GDP and employs more than 50% of the Indian workforce.

· Works with members and Indian officials to liberalize multi-brand retail products and make rules more consistent and predictable under the government’s massive Make in India initiative. The USIBC recommends that the Indian government allow 100% foreign direct investment under Make in India to benefit consumers and domestic manufacturers.

· Advocates that the India government rollback the state veto for approval on opening stores. Our argument, in part, is that a broader retail base will improve employment in a sector that is critical to the country’s economic growth.

· Promotes food safety standards and industry best practices by working with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. We are helping develop a capacity- building program to promote a transparent, science-based regulatory regime and help alleviate the product approval backlog to ensure that safe food gets to the Indian consumer in a quick and efficient manner.

· Drafts Model Rules (DMR) issued under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 – While the Act did not touch upon the industry, the DMR is very specific and virtually bans the industry. As the DS Guidelines were progressive and issued in 2016, the DMR of 2012 needs to include definitions and imbibe the spirit of the DS Guidelines

· Continues to advocate with the GoI on the need to develop a market oriented Agricultural / Farm Policy.

Our Position

Our Position

Enhance Productivity

Agriculture accounts for 17% of GDP and employs more than 50% of the Indian workforce. However, production has been declining over the past decade due to a variety of factors, including outdated farming methods, water issues, and urban migration. The committee is dedicated to introducing mechanization, irrigation, and other modern methods to improve production and best utilize India’s farmland.

Improving Supply Chain Efficiency

A lack of “plow to plate” supply contributes to 40% or more of all food produced in India spoiling before it reaches the market. The Committee is working with Indian and U.S. companies to develop efficiency in cold chain management systems, in efforts to make India “food-secure.”

Food Safety Standards and Industry Best Practices

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been hampered by an unclear mandate that has led to slow product approvals and backlogs at ports of entry. Developing a capacity- building program would promote a transparent, science-based regulatory regime and help alleviate the product approval backlog to ensure that safe food gets to the Indian consumer in a quick and efficient manner.

Draft Model Rules (DMR)

The rules issued under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 – While the Act did not touch upon the industry, the DMR is very specific and virtually bans the industry. As the DS Guidelines were progressive and issued in 2016, the DMR of 2012 needs to include definitions and imbibe the spirit of the DS Guidelines

Spoilage

Working with Indian and U.S. companies to improve efficiency in cold chain management systems to make India “food secure” and reduce spoilage from “plow to plate.”

Committee Accomplishments

Committee Accomplishments

The Committee is engaged with the Government of India on topics ranging from food safety reform, labeling issues, tariffs and food processing policy through trade missions and white papers.

The Committee worked with Niti Aayog in introducing artificial intelligence that can enhance farmers’ income, increase productivity and reduce wastage when used in agriculture.

The Committee proposed to the USDA to engage with India’s Ministry of Agriculture via a dialogue to discuss not only issues on both sides but best practices that will increased productivity.

In Washington and New Delhi, the USIBC has organized meetings for members with the Departments of State, Commerce and Agriculture as well as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The primary focus has been to reinvigorate the U.S.-India agricultural relationship.

The Committee’s efforts to open India to foreign investment in retail have paid dividends. Amazon has invested $2.6 billion in India so far. Wal-Mart paid $16 billion for a 77% stake in Flipkart, a leading Indian retailer. IKEA plans to spend $3 billion opening 25 stores across India

Contact

Contact

Sandeep Maini serves as the Head of Life Sciences, Food and Agriculture, and Retail at the U.S.-India Business Council. Previously, Sandeep served as the Senior Commercial Specialist at the U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Embassy, New Delhi for over 30 years and provided clients with expertise in host country counseling, market entry, strategic communication, and advocacy. In this role, Maini promoted U.S. exports, opened foreign markets to American products, protected U.S. commercial interests in India and promoted investment into the United States.

For more information, please contact Sandeep Maini.