Final Trip Report: Mission to Kolkata and Delhi, India - February 9 - 7, 2018

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 Purpose of travel:
To profile Alberta’s agriculture, food and forestry industries to India’s consumers, industry and government; to advocate on behalf of Alberta’s pulse industry for greater access to the Indian market; to act as keynote speaker during opening ceremonies of India’s Pulse Conclave and the Agro Protech agricultural conference and trade event.

Honourable Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry (AF) led a mission to Kolkata and Delhi, India in February, 2018. The mission was anchored around India’s Pulse Conclave, which drew a delegation from Alberta’s pulse industry, and included engagement with many businesses and Indian Government Ministers at the state and federal level.

India is Canada’s, and Alberta’s, largest customer for pulse products. Alberta is the world’s largest exporter of green and yellow peas, and also an exporter of chickpeas and lentils. India, as the world’s largest consumer of pulses, has long relied on Canada, and Alberta for pulses. In the last three years, however, India has had bumper crops and for the first time, has gained some level of self-sufficiency. These large harvests, however, have depressed pulse prices worldwide, and India’s farmers are now seeking price protection from their government. India therefore felt justified in imposing, without any notice, significant tariffs on pulse imports (33 per cent tariff on lentils, 50 per cent tariff on peas, and 60 per cent tariff on chickpeas) and re-imposing a long-derogated requirement that all pulses be fumigated with Methyl Bromide before shipping. Alberta feels that such regulations are an impediment to fair trade and have a negative effect on Alberta growers.

Alberta was represented at India’s Pulse Conclave, a biennial event which gathers growers, traders, and users of pulses and derivative products from around the world. The Conclave provides a unique opportunity to discuss pulse growing methods, trade and access issues, and use in further processing and marketing. Minister Carlier had the honour of being a keynote speaker during the opening ceremonies of the event. Minister profiled Alberta’s role in global pulse trade, including the effects of unpredictable access changes by India’s government, on Alberta growers. He repeated his message of the necessity of transparency in market access in private meetings with members of the board of the India Pulse and Grain Association (IPGA), and received agreement from the board members, who understand the importance of keeping trade smooth and unencumbered, and the negative effects on the Indian consumer of market interference by the Indian government. Minister Carlier and his team also had the opportunity to engage growers and traders from many other countries on trends and expectations for the future of the pulse industry worldwide.

India is a large country, with different regions that have distinct cultures and distinct economies. Each region requires a customized approach, and the presence of a cabinet minister gains attention and raises the profile of Alberta. Minister Carlier was the first Alberta minister ever to visit Kolkata, and to engage the Government of the state of West Bengal. This led to discussions on future collaboration and greater engagement with this region of eastern India. West Bengal alone has a population of over 90 million people, and the profile created by Minister Carlier’s visit will allow staff to reach out to businesses who buy products from Alberta (including canola, pork, swine genetics, dairy genetics, fertilizer and agricultural technology) with positive results for Alberta exporters. While In Kolkata, Minister Carlier was the Guest of Honour at the Agro Protech agriculture technology conference and trade event. The Minister profiled Alberta’s agriculture and food products. Of particular interest for future exporters to West Bengal is the entrepreneurial focus of Bengali farmers and businesses to export their products to neighboring countries such as China and Nepal, rather than relying solely on Indian consumers.

For several years, Alberta has had a special relationship with the state of Meghalaya, located in the mountainous Northeast region. Meghalaya has strong agriculture and forestry industries, is sparsely populated by Indian standards, and has a largely non-Hindu population which enjoys an omnivorous diet. The two regions signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2014 which promoted cooperation in agriculture topics. Minister Carlier met with government representatives of Meghalaya, and witnessed a renewal of the MoU, which will see the creation of an Agriculture Working Group to align appropriate projects to improve agriculture production within, and trade between, the two regions.

Minister Carlier also had the opportunity to meet with India’s Minister of Food Processing, to share respective practices of supporting the food processing industry. Staff will continue to explore opportunities to collaborate.

As a result of Minister Carlier’s visit, two separate delegations from India will travel to Alberta in May and June, respectively, to engage Alberta industry in the pursuit of Alberta products and services.

Ministry Objectives related to this Mission:
  • Build Alberta’s reputation as a global citizen.
  • Diversify Alberta’s reliance on a small number of export markets.
  • Engage and assist Alberta industry working in, and selling to, overseas markets.
  • Engage key Canadian and foreign stakeholders, advocating for removal of roadblocks to trade.
  • Build key networks to advance industry’s export and market access interests.

Mission Objectives, and Results for each:
  1. Support Alberta pulse exporters in their efforts to access the Indian market
    • Keynote speaker at India Pulse Conclave, attended by global buyers,
    • Met with influential pulse buyers to discuss distribution channels,
    • Joined IPGA networking event to meet India’s top pulse decision makers,
    • Engaged IPGA and pulse industry at Pulse Conclave.
  2. Build the profile of Alberta as a reliable supplier of agrifood products and services
    • Keynote speaker at Agro Protech, attended by East Indian agriculture industry,
    • Hosted event in Kolkata to meet retail, food processing and government,
    • Engagement with Government of West Bengal to encourage trade,
    • Business engagement with Emami Group and Spencer’s Retail,
    • Media engagement in Kolkata and Delhi,
    • Engagement with India’s Minister of Food Processing.
  3. Encourage sale of Alberta pork to India to provide non-vegetarians with protein option
    • Celebrated Alberta’s first shipment of pork to India at an event in Delhi.
  4. Increase Alberta engagement with non-Hindu, non-vegetarian region of Northeast India and encourage imports of Alberta agrifood products and services
    • Renewed MoU with Meghalaya, encouraging trade and cooperation in agrifood products and services,
    • Engaged potential investors interested in using inputs and technology from Alberta.
  5. Increase consumption of canola oil amongst Indian consumers, encourage canola imports from Alberta and encourage investment into crushing facilities in Alberta
    • Engage potential buyers and decision makers about the health benefits of canola oil versus palm oil.
    Minister’s Delegation:
    Honourable Oneil Carlier, Minister of AF
    Anthony Clark, Chief of Staff, Office of the Minister of AF
    Jamie Curran, Assistant Deputy Minister, Livestock and Crops, AF
    Grant Winton, Unit Manager, Central and South Asia, Middle East and Africa, International Relations and Marketing, AF

    Assisted by Alberta New Delhi Office staff

    Final Itinerary:

    Friday, February 9Depart Edmonton
    Saturday, February 10Arrive Delhi
    Sunday, February 11Travel to Kolkata
    Meeting with Representative of Government of West Bengal
    Meeting with potential investor using Alberta technology
    Media engagement to profile Alberta
    Monday, February 12Keynote Speaker at Opening Session of Agro Protech
    Meeting with retail chain buying Alberta products
    Tour of Agro Protech Exhibition
    Meeting with edible oil importer, refiner and wholesaler
    Engagement with Indian Chamber of Commerce
    Host reception to engage key businesses of West Bengal
    Tuesday, February 13Travel to Delhi
    Engage Alberta delegation to address access barriers
    Met with pulse distributors at Naya Bazaar pulse market tunderstand buying process
    Wednesday, February 14Engagement with IPGA officials to address access questions
    Media engagement to profile Alberta
    Thursday, February 15Keynote Speaker at opening ceremonies of Pulse Conclave
    Tour of Pulse Conclave Exhibition
    Meetings with IPGA executive
    Meetings with international pulse growers & buyers
    Pulse Conclave Reception – industry engagement
    Friday, February 16Meeting with Canada’s High Commissioner to India
    Meeting with India’s Minister of Food Processing
    Meeting with Representatives of Government of Meghalaya
    Oversee signing of Alberta-Meghalaya MoU
    Engagement with Canada-India Business Council
    Media engagement to profile Alberta
    Speaking engagement - Alberta Pork Event in Delhi
    Saturday, February 17Return to Alberta

    News Releases & Communiques:
    Content needed

    International Travel Final Expenses:

    International Travel Final Expenses - 2018 Trade Mission to India
    Expenditures by ParticipantsAmount
    Travel (includes airfare, airport service fees, ground transportation costs,
    including taxis, car rentals, parking, trains, buses as well as mileage to/from
    airport or taxis to/from airport in Alberta, including any cancellation fees.
    Accommodation (room charges and related taxes, including any cancellation fees
    Meals (includes restaurant bills and tips, meals on hotel bills, per diem meal
    claims, share of group meals or working sessions)
    Incidental and Miscellaneous (includes cell phone rental charges, incremental costs for all electronic devices such as roaming charges for cell phones, iPads and costs associated with communications such as the costs incurred for media call-backs, conference/registration fees, including cancellation fees, fax and internet charges, passport and visa fees, medical and inoculation fees, laundry and dry cleaning, baggage handling, out-of-country per diems, and other sundry expenditures)
    General Mission Expenditures
    Receptions and Hosting (receptions, luncheons, dinners and events that are hosted by the Government of Alberta that are specific to the mission and include meeting related costs for room rental, room rental for hosted events, food, beverages, catering staff, service charges, entertainment, flowers)
    Incidental and Miscellaneous (includes translation of documents fees, publications, shipping charges, gifts purchases specifically for mission, Canadian Embassy/High Commission/Consulate charges for services provided to the GOA)
    Total Costs
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    For more information about the content of this document, contact Kelly Bernard.
    This information published to the web on April 5, 2018.