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Reality check by Rotary study group from India

Reality check by Rotary study group from India

. . . and we thought our dairy industry was large

The New Zealand dairy industry was given a reality check in Timaru this week – by five visitors from India here on a Rotary Group Study Exchange.

Their message left smiles on the faces of a Timaru audience made of members of four South Canterbury Rotary Clubs as they contemplated the thought – if New Zealand dairying thinks it is large on the world stage, it’s time to take another look.

From Rotary District 3060 in the state of Gujarat in the North West of India, Geeta Modi, Dr Manisha Agarwal, Pravin Gadhvi, Chandni Sukla and Dr Amit Agravat used a video and screen presentation to put New Zealand’s dairy industry into global perspective – New Zealand has 3.8 million cows, India has 500 million; New Zealand has 12,000 dairy farmers, India has 3.1 million; New Zealand produces 14 billion litres of milk annually, India produces 6.4 million litres a day.

Dr Manisha Agarwal is a dentist and dental lecturer; Pravin Gadhvi, a chemical engineer; Chandni Sukla is a radio disc jockey and a professional singer, and Dr Amit Agravat is an associate professor of pathology and plays tennis at a national level. The team was led by Geeta Modi who has a background in the health and hospitality industry.

Showcasing Gurajat, one of India’s most prosperous states, each visitor took turns to highlight Indian culture and business acumen before combining for a traditional song and dance session at the Caroline Bay meeting venue.

Their home state is the world’s largest producer of processed diamonds, it has the world’s largest petroleum refinery, at Jamnagar, and the state has India’s largest number of clinical research organisations and more than 100 companies with WHO-compliant manufacturing units.

Gujarat has India’s longest coastline and 41 ports share the 1600km seaboard. It is the largest milk producing country in the world, with the largest population of cattle and buffalo.

A Rotary Group Study Exchange is an exchange with another Rotary District elsewhere in the world, Rotary Club of Timaru president Gilly Oppenheim said.

But the carefully selected group of motivated people in the 25 to 40 age group are not allowed to be Rotarians. Their team leader, however, is always a Rotarian.

“GSE is a cultural and vocational experience to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the world we live in. Members of the team are hosted in Rotarians’ homes and taken on tours and outings to experience the culture of the countries they visit,” Mrs Oppenheim said.

The Indian delegation visit reciprocated an exchange by six Rotary District 9980 members who visited India in January and February this year including Natasha Martin, a photographer at the Timaru Herald, and Ryan Luckman, a Waimate vet. Rotary District 9980 covers the southern South Island from the Rangitata River to Invercargill.

Mrs Oppenheim said the exchange was paid for from the education fund of the Rotary Foundation and each team member was also sponsored by one of the Rotary Clubs in their district, and from the district funds.

“Their presentations were about their life here in New Zealand including family, work and leisure activities.

“It was a great opportunity to showcase our own area, the businesses in it, our own culture and the way we live,” Mrs Oppenheim said.

The Indian team leaves New Zealand on Friday (eds: May 27).


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