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India should keep dairy products out of all free trade pacts: Balyan

Business Standard | 17 May 2022

India should keep dairy products out of all free trade pacts: Balyan

by Sanjeeb Mukherjee & Agencies

As India plans to sign a slew of Free-Trade Agreements (FTAs) with several countries in the near future, the ministry for animal husbandry is of the firm view that milk and dairy products should never form part of any such trade deal to protect the interest of farmers, minister of state Sanjeev Kumar Balyan said.

According to sources, India is planning to enter into FTAs with the United Kingdom, Canada, European Union (EU), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Israel.

It has already signed FTAs with UAE and Australia in the last few months. Of all, these countries, UK, Canada and EU are significant producers of milk in the world.

Meanwhile, Balyan also batted for further increase in milk procurement prices as input costs have gone up sharply in the last six months.

“Milk prices should rise as input costs have gone up for farmers or else it will become unviable for farmers to rear animals,” he said while addressing an event to announce IDF World Day Summit to be held in September 12-15 at India Expo Centre and Mart, Greater Noida.

IDF is being held in India after nearly five decades under the theme "dairy for nutrition and livelihood".

About 1,500 stakeholders, including dairy farmers, dairy product manufacturers, scientists, dairy association officials from over 40 milk producing countries are expected.

Recently, the commerce ministry said India will not provide import duty concession under the FTA with Australia on 29.8 per cent of its tariff lines or product categories, including dairy products, food grains, precious metals, jewelry and most of the medical devices.

Atul Chaturvedi, secretary, department of animal husbandry and dairying, said the dairy exports increased by 100 percent during the last fiscal year. He noted that 70-80 per cent of the consumer prices are passed to farmers.

NDDB’s chairman Meenesh Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to inaugurate the IDF World Day Summit.

IDF president Piercristiano Brazalle and director general Caroline Emond were also present at the event.

 source: Business Standard