Indian companies are scouting for cultivable land in Uruguay and Paraguay to set up agri-businesses such as food processing industries and soya oil plants, an industry executive said Thursday.
This follows significant investments by companies such as Adani Group, India's state-owned MMTC and Iffco in Africa.
Representatives of companies such as United Phosphorus, Mida & Co and Kirloskar Brothers have showed keen interest in investing in agri-business segment. Indian companies under the aegis of industry chamber CII are looking for trade in agricultural products such as rice, soybean, wheat and cotton.
According to Paraguay's agriculture minister Enzo Cardozo, " with proactive government support and encouraging investment climate, Paraguay is also emerging as a manufacturing hub for the region. Its geo-strategic location as well as its robust connectivity in terms of transport and communication with its neighbours makes it a preferred destination for investments by Indian companies."
Genaro Pappalardo, Paraguayan ambassador to India has also said that the Indian companies are mostly interested in food-processing plants.
Rengaraj Viswanathan, former ambassador to Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, said, "Paraguay -- the fourth largest soy exporter in the world -- is a good source to import soy oil as well as pulses. So Indians can invest in Paraguayan agri-companies that produce or lease land in collaboration with them."
Indian businessman Sanjeev Kumar, who has been doing business in Paraguay for over 20 years, said, "Paraguay provides ideal opportunities for leasing land and developing agro-based export businesses. The labor is cheap, reasonable, peaceful, and being a founding country of Mercosur, its products can be exported to bigger markets like Brazil without any duties."
The government of Paraguay said it will provide security and seek to create necessary conditions. "If you want to buy land, install industries, they will provide, if they meet the administrative laws," the Paraguayan minister has said.
Attracted by its cheap land and labor costs, Indian companies are already engaged in commercial farming in Africa. A large number of people in east African countries such as Kenya work in the cultivation of tea, coffee, corn, vegetable, sugarcane, wheat and fruits, among others.