8 Indian states, over 600 farmers: The India-Japan Mango Buyer Seller Meet and why B2B meets matter
About a month ago on 28 May 2021, the Indian Embassy in Japan in collaboration with the One District, One Product Initiative (ODOP) and the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) held the India-Japan Mango Buyer Seller Meet (BSM). The event was marked as a highlight of the ‘Mango Festival of India 2021’ in Tokyo, Japan; which also included tasting and sales across 25 locations. A ~500 kg sample consignment of mangoes was also facilitated from India to Japan for the same. The BSM brought with it a certain hype. Mango diplomacy and mango trade has been a sweet deal for India raking in 57.36 million $ just in 2019-20 and Japan presents a new opportunity market for India.
But how does a single B2B – Buyer Seller Meet matter in the larger scale of things? Are these events conducted for the event’s sake itself or the final end of trade facilitation? These are questions of a sceptic that may wonder if there is any real impact that arises from occasions entailing a virtual meet. The lack of hustle and bustle of a physical interaction and negotiation between buyers and sellers in the digital age of virtual meetings may give the doubter a chance to wonder. But the India-Japan Mango Buyer Seller Meet (BSM) proves otherwise early on.
Representing eight proud states of India (Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bengal and Bihar) and a whopping forty-six districts from these, the mango sellers that came to present their produce and capabilities at the BSM truly embodied diversity. On one hand, we had established sellers with export experience but on the other hand, a platform was given to new sellers representing non-traditional areas of export. Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) showcasing mango varieties from across the country were also present. Over six hundred farmers were represented through the supply chain with many of the sellers representing single orchards tended to generationally. Thus, the India-Japan Mango Buyer Seller Meet (BSM) was a key platform for Indian mango sellers.
The India-Japan Mango Buyer Seller Meet (BSM) also brought with it a sense of legitimacy and prestige as it acted as a platform to also map out the way forward for export promotion of Indian mangoes to Japan. Key addresses at the event included dignitaries from both sides. On the Japanese side, addresses were made by Mr. K. Nakayo, ex-VP of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Mr. O. Onodera, DDG International Co-operation; while on the Indian side, Smt. Sumita Dawra, the Additional Secretary of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and Shri. Vijay Kumar, Additional Director General of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India gave key remarks.
As the sellers move forward post-BSM, they have already received interest from large buyers including the international membership-based warehouse chain, Costco and the large Japanese retailer with 4000 stores across Japan, Lawson. Thus, with about a hundred and twenty participants on the virtual call connecting the two countries and a traditional Japanese toast or Kampai to Indian mangoes, the BSM was a bright beginning with a serious scope.
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