Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, in a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has sought cooperation in linking farmers, producers of marine products, and SMEs involved in food processing sector with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC ) market.

Various product in Odisha such as non basmati aromatic rice from western Odisha, marine products from Chilika, mangoes, exotic flowers, turmeric from Kandhamal , ginger from Koraput can be exported to these markets to double the income of farmers, Pradhan suggested.

Citing his experience during the recent visit to UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai), Pradhan said he met investors particularly interested in industries dealing with food, food processing and marine products in Odisha.

“It is strongly felt that there is a huge scope to enhance export of foods, processed foods and agri and marine products to these countries, especially to the UAE. Presence of a 3.3 million strong Indian diaspora in the UAE provides a ready basis for demand of Indian products there. It is ironical that only 18 per cent of the food products imported by the UAE come from India. Even countries situated much further off like the US, Canada and Brazil have better share of Indian products in their import basket,” he wrote in the letter.

Pointing out that the share of Odisha in the import was abysmally low, Pradhan said that he made attempts to make the linkages between the export potential of Odisha with the requirement of such products in the UAE.

“I made special reference to the Paradip Port which has the potential to emerge as a food processing hub for GCC countries. I also highlighted the varied agro climatic zones, forest coverage, water availability, trained and skilled productive manpower of Odisha in addition to our huge range of authentic Odia food products which have good potential to find a place in GCC countries’ food markets,” wrote Pradhan.

Prominent business groups like Emaar, Lulu Ai Maya, AKM and NMC have showed interest to send their senior level teams to scan the Odisha market for investment, he added.