Friday, August 20, 2010


Overwhelmed by the euphoria generated by the awesome achievements of the dictatorial regime in mainland China, there is a tendency to ignore the existence and accomplishments of Taiwan, the original China which is presently a small place with about 23 million populations. But if per capita achievements are compared probably Taiwanese China would win hands down. With an annual per capita income of more than $ 35000, Taiwan is considered an economic power on par with top developed countries. Though it is being treated as a pariah by many countries because of their apprehension of antagonizing the mainland China, the hard working and well educated population there have made the country one of the most productive nations in the world. India must be congratulated in realizing the potential for collaboration with Taiwan in the food processing sector as reflected by the visit of an economic delegation from that country for exploring increased investment in India.

"The processed food industry is a major component of the Taiwanese economy. In 2009, this sector posted revenues of $17 billion. In fact, four of the top 10 food companies in China are Taiwanese. Stating that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called for a second Green Revolution in India, Sahai said that this would be possible only through industrialisation of agri-produce in the country. 'And Taiwan is a leader in this sector,' the minister said. Pointing out that at $1 billion, Taiwanese investment in India was very low, Sahai said he wanted this figure to grow to '$100 billion in the years to come'. The minister also called for transfer of food processing technologies from Taiwan to India and joint collaboration in research and development in the sector. Philip Wen-Chyi Ong, a representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in New Delhi, gave an overview of Taiwan's achievements in the processed food sector and the opportunities that are available for Indo-Taiwanese cooperation in this area. Speaking to IANS, Ong said: 'All this while, Taiwanese investment in India has been limited to the manufacturing and technology sectors and most of this investment has been made in the state of Tamil Nadu.' 'We are now thinking of diversifying from China (where Taiwan has made heavy investments in the processed food sector) to India.'Asked about the areas in the Indian food processing sector Taiwan would be interested in, Ong mentioned production of instant noodles and cooking oils and setting up of cold chain facilities".

The ingenuity of Taiwanese can be gauged by their ability to design mechanized equipment for a number of traditional food products in India some of them still working in the country. Machinery for mass production of products like parotha, samosa, vada etc have been fabricated by Taiwanese engineers in the past and the MFPI of GOI must give priority in utilizing this capability of Taiwanese for modernizing the traditional food products industry in the country which currently presents a picture of utter chaos and morbidity. Recently Taiwan, working in Paraguay in South America, donated a slew of food processing equipment for setting up a training facility for agricultural producers. As they do not carry any ideological baggage with them, unlike the Communist China, it is a wise policy to invest on more extensive collaboration with Taiwan in the coming years.


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