India’s farmer protests: Why Canada needs to get its messaging right
The new laws are an opportunity for Canadian companies to engage with India
The new farm laws come as an opportunity for the Canadian agricultural and food sector, board member of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute Vijay Sappani has said, pointing out that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent remarks on the farm reforms are perplexing.
Writing in The Globe and Mail, Sappani says that by appearing to voice support for the protesters, PM Trudeau risks further damaging already strained ties with India and losing out on trade opportunities that Canada has aggressively advocated for at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
He further points out that the new laws are an opportunity for Canadian companies to engage with India. Canada can help India adopt and form practices that will lead to mutual benefit, both private and public, he says.
“Canadian companies, which have extensive knowledge and an understanding of best business practices, will be able to help raise productivity and production in India, thus benefitting both producers and consumers,” he adds.
Since independence, Indian farmers are used to selling at local markets run by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee, with commission agents and other middlemen enabling the farmers. But, the current reforms would create a national framework allowing farmers to sell directly to private players, which is already a reality in many Indian states, he says in the article.
India is at a stage where it is learning about its agricultural practices from Canada and the rest of the developed world, and Sappani says that Canada should lend a hand to its fellow democracy in that quest.