Welcome to our December newsletter
The holiday season has almost begun. Schools and Universities have ended their sessions for 2012 and hopefully parents have managed to get a little time off work to enjoy activities with friends and family. At Parliament we had our last sitting-day for the year on 12 December and I am now enjoying spending time around Manukau-East. We will return to Wellington at the end of January next year to being what is set to be another exciting and productive year in Parliament.
I would like to take this opportunity to share some details of my recent trip with Hon David Carter to India trip recently.
Minister for Primary Industries Hon David Carter and I, along with a twenty-member delegation of professionals from agriculture, farming and industry, visited India in the last week of November. The purpose of our trip was to discuss mechanisms to further increase cooperation between the two countries in a number of areas.
We began our visit by meeting Hon Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Discussions between the Hon Chief Minister and the delegation centred on how New Zealand can assist to boost apple production in Himachal Pradesh.
The delegation also had a very fruitful meeting with the Himachal Apple Growers who provided valuable information on their current practices. Experts discussed with Himachal Apple Growers about how New Zealand can assist in improving the quality, quantity, and turnaround time of apple crop in the Himachal region of India.
As a result of the Hon Carter and Hon Chief Minister’s discussion, and meetings between our delegation, Himachal Apple Growers New Zealand will shortly be exporting 6,000 apple roots to Himachal Pradesh, India for a trial run.
Next, Hon Carter, the delegation and I had the opportunity to meet Hon Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Deputy Chief Minister for the state of Punjab. Discussions with Hon Deputy Chief Minister focussed on dairy and cold storage. The Punjab side demonstrated a keen interest in procuring technical know-how and equipment from their counterparts in New Zealand.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Agritech, India and Field days New Zealand in presence of Hon Carter and Hon Adaish Pratap Singh Kairon, Minister for Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs and Minister for Food Processing and Information Technology, Government of the state of Punjab, India. Agritech is Northern India’s largest agricultural exhibition while Field days is the largest agricultural exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere.
During our visit to Punjab, India the delegation also had an opportunity to visit a modern dairy farm near Chandigarh. This particular dairy farm has approximately 300 cows and in comparison to normal dairy farms in India can be considered as large scale
A meeting between the dairy federation of India and our delegation also took place in Chandigarh. The dairy federation of India constitutes of 2000 dairy farmers and produces 200,000 litres of milk per day. During the meeting there was robust discussion on how the Indian diary federation can cooperate with Fonterra.
In the evening Hon Charanjit Singh Atwal, speaker of the Punjab State Assembly hosted the Hon Carter and rest of our delegation for farewell dinner.
Next morning we arrived in New Delhi to meet with the Indian Agriculture Minister Hon Sharad Pawar. Hon Shri Sharad Pawar and Hon Carter discussed on how to increase bilateral cooperation to boost agricultural production in India.
Mr Montek Singh Ahulwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Government of India also met with the delegation to brief us on the ‘India story’. Mr Ahluwalia advised that India has just launched its 12th five year plan, Mr Ahluwalia also emphasised that the Indian Government is very excited about progressing the Free Trade Agreement which is currently being negotiated with New Zealand.
The delegation also met with Hon Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce, Government of India. Hon Anand Sharma discussed the progress to date on and India-New Zealand free trade agreement. He is optimistic that there will be significant progress in negotiations between the two countries in the next round of discussions.
On our last day the delegation met with members of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Chef Kunal Kapoor, of Master Chef India was awarded the Sir Edmund Hilary Scholarship for 2012 – 2013 at the CII headquarters in New Delhi. Chef Kapoor is expected to visit New Zealand in January, 2013 to try New Zealand food and wine so that he can complement this with Indian cuisine.
In my opinion our visit to India was very successful. Members of the New Zealand delegation were amazed at the opportunities India presents for them and their business. Our Indian counterparts were also excited to learn about New Zealand’s technical knowledge in dairy, agricultural expertise along with marketing techniques which may help Indian businesses improve their business models.
Finally, I would like to use this opportunity to remind you that I hold regular consultation clinics at my office on Kolmar Road, Papatoetoe, Auckland.
Please note that the office will close over the Christmas period on from 22nd December 2012, to reopen on 14 January 2013. In case you have any urgent enquiries please email us on[email protected] we will try and assist you to the best of our ability
Kanwal Bakshi MP