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Maharashtra plans food security corridor with UAE

Narendra Modi, India's PM, was met by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the president of the UAE, on his arrival in Abu Dhabi Ryan Carter/UAE Presidential Court/Handout via Reuters
Narendra Modi, India's PM, was met by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the president of the UAE, on his arrival in Abu Dhabi
  • Maharashtra home to 11m farmers
  • It can ‘address GCC food security”.
  • Modi due to sign investment treaty

The central Indian state of Maharashtra is working to develop a food security corridor with the UAE.

The government of Maharashtra, which has 11 million farmers, has linked up with US fund manager Pegasus Capital Advisors for the food trade project.

Under their agreement, the Maharashtra authorities will share an operational plan within three months, detailing opportunities for collaboration and identifying potential partners in the UAE and GCC.

The state, which has Mumbai as its capital, had an estimated GDP of $486 billion last year, according to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation. It accounts for 14 percent of India’s economy and more than 17 percent of its exports. 

The plan was announced on Tuesday, just hours before Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, landed in Abu Dhabi. He will sign an investment treaty during the trip, which is his seventh official visit to the UAE.

Pegasus said Maharashtra’s robust agriculture sector and logistical capabilities meant it was “well-positioned to address the GCC food security”.

Craig Cogut, partner at Pegasus, said the collaboration with Maharashtra aimed to create a sustainable food processing economy: “This partnership is important to building a resilient and integrated food supply chain and strengthening natural farming practices.”

New research from HSBC suggests that untapped trade opportunities between India and the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey could be worth more than $112 billion.

HSBC analysts said India’s increasing strengths as a food and agricultural producer and exporter was “repositioning the India-GCC trade and investments relationship”. 

Maharashtra is focused on addressing the UAE and GCC’s immediate food basket requirements, promoting increased production capacity and supporting the development of the food processing sector, Cogut added.

The plan seeks to gain better access to GCC markets and the latest agricultural technology for the Indian state’s farmers while establishing Maharashtra as a long-term supplier of staples such as millet, soybean, wheat and sugarcane.

Another focal point involves the establishment of food processing units in both Maharashtra and the UAE to act as a jumping off point to penetrate new markets in Central Asia and Africa.

India and the UAE signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement in 2022.

The total value of the Emirates’ direct investments in India had reached about $17 billion by the end of September 2023, said Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, minister for foreign trade, on Tuesday. This makes the UAE the seventh-largest investor in India globally.

Indian investments in the UAE stood at $8 billion, ranking second globally with a 6 percent share of total foreign direct investment into the country.

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