Joining the India-Africa Forum Summit Fervour

The third edition of the India-Africa Forum Summit held from 26th - 29th October 2015 at New Delhi brought representatives from 54 African countries and the Indian government on a common platform to discuss collaboration for transformative development. Over a period of 4 days, matters pertaining to Africa’s economic growth, industrialisation, agriculture, infrastructure and employment were in focus.

 

In the field of agriculture, Africa sought India’s increased cooperation in improving their farming techniques through the supply of affordable technology, organic farming, enhancing crop varieties, seeds and fertilizers, efficient use of water through transfer of irrigation know-how, promoting investment in agri-business and food processing industry and several other significant measures.

 

The summit saw Mahindra Group’s keen and committed involvement in AFS, MACE, Defence, Public Affairs and GSO sectors. The Group made its presence felt through exhibits at all the venues, distribution of the Mahindra Group information kits to all delegates, one-on-one and round table meetings with the Head of States and visiting delegates and exchange of incisive thoughts by Mr. Ashok Sharma, President & CE – Agri, Africa & South Asia, who was one of the speakers of the Agriculture Panel alongside esteemed African agriculture ministers.

 

Mr. Ashok Sharma made thought provoking observations and highlighted key areas of improvement during his speech. “Agriculture continues to be the largest employer in Africa, employing almost 60% of the economically active population. So any discussion on growth cannot be without agriculture”, he said. He shared how India had written the script of its agricultural success through farm mechanization, better quality seeds, intelligent irrigation and use of fertilisers, and changed its status from importer to exporter of agriculture produce. Talking about Mahindra’s contribution beyond the manufacture and supply of farm equipment, he quoted, “A decade back when we started working with about 500 farmers from Maharashtra for procurement of grapes, their productivity was 3-4 tonnes/acre and their selling price was 0.5 dollars/kg.  We decided to provide end-to-end support – in terms of know-how on international standards, lower chemical residues, quality agri inputs and cold chain infrastructure. As a result, today the same set of farmers produce 12-15 tonnes of grapes/acre and earn close to 2 dollars/kg. In the process, Mahindra became the No. 1 grapes exporter from India”. He emphatically concluded that Mahindra had the same vision for African farmers and was keen to partner them in growing their food production by 5 times in the next 5 years. 

The India-Africa Forum Summit proved to be a catalyst in further strengthening the ties between the two nations.