The industries minister of Maharashtra believes that a partnership with the government of Thailand could help it accelerate development in sectors such as food, dairy processing and allied SME sectors.
Subhash Desai, who also holds the portfolio for mining in the state government, at a roundtable discussion with trade officials from Thailand said, "Maharashtra produces millions of tonnes of milk; but there is inadequate processing facility in dairy sector. Maharashtra has diverse climatic conditions favourable for producing large variety of crops. Farmers in Maharashtra are growing high quality food crops supported by substantial research and development."
"We look for Thailand’s partnership in secondary treatment of these food crops, which include preservation, processing, packaging and export,” he added.
Desai believes that Thailand and Maharashtra can work together to uplift the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to higher levels. Besides, there is also a talk of support in areas of developing SMEs and furthering development in Maharashtra's textile sector.
"My dream is to see majority of garments in the world market to be labeled as 'Made in India' products," he is quoted saying.
Keen on improving bilateral trade ties, Ekapol Poolpipat, Consul General, for the Royal Thai Consulate-General of Mumbai said, "Maharashtra is not only the financial and commercial hub of India, it is also one of the largest markets in the country. My mission is to promote bilateral partnership in three areas: commerce, innovation and culture."
Trade Statistics: Here are trade numbers.
1. The world's top exporter of Dairy & Food products under ITC HS chapter 04 (Dairy and Egg products and others) is Germany with a total export strength of $85 billion in FY18. New Zealand, Netherlands are leading with exports of at least $10 billion each.
2. India's total exports in the same sector stood at $339.36 million, while Thailand's exports were to the tune of $284 million.
3. Thailand exported goods estimated at $6.4 billion and imported $3.58 billion from India.
4-Point Plan to uplift SMEs:
From left to right, WTO's trade officials YR Warerkar, Consul General Poolpipat, Minister Desai (c), Dr Wimonkarn Koumas, and Vijay Kalantri. Image Courtesy: Mumbai World Trade Centre
Dr. Wimonkarn Kosumas, Deputy Director General, for Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion of Thailand outlines a four-point programme to strengthen bilateral ties between India and Maharashtra.
She suggests a four-point programme to uplift trade with the state. Setting up a dedicated Maharashtra desk in the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP) in Thailand, holding a Thailand-Maharashtra SME festival (including further round table discussions and a trade fair) sometime next year, linking artisans and craftsmen of Maharashtra with the designers in Thailand and promoting SME collaboration in food packaging technologies, are some of the initiatives she explains in her four point programme.
Dr. Kosumas explains that SMEs in Thailand accounted for 99.7% of all enterprises and generate 88% employment. The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP), in fact has been brought under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister of Thailand.
"There is no disparity of income and tremendous opportunity for employment created by the sector," she remarks.
In her third visit to Maximum city Mumbai in the last five years, she observes, "tremendous potential to enhance partnership between Thailand and Maharashtra."
"The OSMEP has set up a dedicated desk to promote SME collaboration with Italy and Japan. We can set up similar dedicated desk for Maharashtra as well," she quips.