India and Canada have for the most part shared an amicable bilateral relationship which in recent years has seen a resurgence. Trade between the two countries has picked up and there are optimistic attempts to make newer connections.

Adding to the recent trend of Canadian interest in India is its first ever Agri-food Trade Mission to India from November 14 to 20. The mission headed by Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and rural affairs and Michael Chan, Minister of International Trade, has brought with it a 19-member team from Ontario’s burgeoning agri-food sector.

The mission will expose India to Canada’s cutting edge agri-technology, as well as aim to attract new investments and boost agri-trade and exports.

Ontario’s Growing Agri-trade Sector

The agri-food sector plays an important role in Ontario’s growing economy. In the recent past, even when other sectors in Ontario’s economy underwent a slump, the agri-food sector recorded growth. Currently, the sector alone is responsible for a GDP of $34 billion every year sustains as many as 740,000 jobs – which is one in every 9th job in Ontario.

Agri-food encompasses businesses spanning from farms to food processing to restaurants. It also includes non-food products from agricultural sources, such as bioplastics and biodiesels.

The Agri-Food Challenge

The mission to India is also in line with an Agri-Food Growth Challenge undertaken by the Kathleen Wynne, Ontario's Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food who is passionate about the sector. Wynne has challenged the industry to double its annual growth rate and create 120,000 jobs by the year 2020.

Ontario and India

The regions of Ontario and India have several links that bind them. In fact, the province is home to the largest Indo-Canadian community in Canada. It has the reputation of being one of the leading places in the world to do business in with the very reasonable business costs it offers.

India, a country that Canada enjoys an amicable rapport with is a significant and continuously growing market in South Asia that cannot be ignored.

In the year 2015, the trade between the two regions, Ontario and India was at a figure of $2.4 billion.

The delegation’s visit to India comes at a time of recent official visits from Canada. Earlier this year, Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne led a Canadian delegation to India as part of the ambitious ‘Ontario Business Mission to India’ that included 50 businesspeople. While a few weeks ago, a delegation of ten Canadian technology companies led by the Honourable Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development of Canada, Navdeep Bains was on an official visit to India.

The delegates will make stops at New Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh. While in India they will attend a Canada India Business Council Summit. They will also participate in Agro-Tech 2016, India’s premier biennial agro technology fair scheduled on 19 and 20th November.

Elizabeth Raj | Blogger- Arsha Consulting

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