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India seeks joint quality labs with US for agro products


Washington : India has proposed setting up of joint quality laboratories with the US to ensure both sides have common norms for quality and standards for trade in agricultural products.

Indian Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Subodh Kant Sahay made the proposal at a meeting here Monday with US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns under the US-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative (AKI).

A world-class technical institute for food processing is also proposed to be set up in India with Cornell University as part of AKI announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George W. Bush in July 2005, Sahay told a press conference.

Johanns had also agreed to setting up of separate committee for food processing and larger participation of public and private sector in AKI, Sahay said suggesting cold chain, supply chain for perishable goods too should form part of it.

Asked about progress on the issue of wheat import standards to allow new US wheat sales to India, Sahay said it was mentioned during his meeting with Johanns. But essentially the US has to take the initiative.

An integrated food law to setting quality norms was on the anvil in India in consultation with the US and European countries, he said suggesting that developed countries should adopt uniform standards that India was ready to follow.

Sahay visit follows Johanns's visit to India last November for the AKI that brings the US and Indian private and public sectors together to work on innovative projects to increase Indian agricultural productivity, help Indian farmers prosper and strengthen trade.