Brexit could create massive India-UK food market

A post-Brexit UK and India could agree on a trade deal that would see the creation of a dynamic international food market

Looking ahead to UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to India, Dr Manish Shukla, Lecturer in Operations Management at Durham University Business School, is optimistic about the visit and how greater collaboration particularly around agriculture could revolutionise global food production and manufacturing

Shukla said: “Theresa May’s visit signals a new era in trade relations between two historically tied countries. A key area where trade discussions can have an impact is agriculture. A new trade deal with India could make the UK a world-leading processed food hub and counteract the impact of Brexit on the UK’s relationship with European producers.

“India is the leading global producer of dairy, bananas, mangos, pulses, pepper, ginger, jute, chickpeas, and the second largest producer of rice, wheat, potato, onion, sugar cane, tea, and peanuts. Yet, it is not even a top 10 exporter for most of these products.

“Recent research conducted by Durham University Business School among Indian onion and coffee producers highlighted the difficulties for many smaller companies to enter the international supply chain. They are hampered by factors such as lack of infrastructure, the technology to preserve crops or food for transit, and high levels of export bureaucracy.

“In contrast, the UK has cutting edge technological capabilities to process and market foods with an international reputation and reach.

“One potential solution that we are exploring is developing ‘Physical Internet for food produce’ to connect the Indian producers to UK processing companies to reach the global marketplace. This may be a great way forward for the farmers, SMEs and larger organisations in both the countries.”

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