Envoy says both nations committed to improving farm productivity

U.S. ambassador Nancy J. Powell on Monday expressed optimism over the growing commercial ties with India and underscored the work done by the two countries in reducing input costs of farmers and improving farm productivity.

“Trade brings people together, creates jobs and provides countless new opportunities for people in both our countries. There is plenty of room for growth, and we need to see where we can best help each other because a healthy balance of trade is essential,” Ms. Powell said in an address during the launch of the tenth American Business Centre (ABC) here.

“In recent years, India has been among the fastest growing sources of inward investment into the U.S., totalling about $9.8 billion, as of 2011, and supporting thousands of U.S. jobs.

“Over the past year, U.S. exports to India increased by about $1 billion to over $22 billion, while India’s exports to our country grew by about $4 billion to over $41 billion. Historically, our bilateral trade in goods has expanded from more than $26 billion in 2005, to over $63 billion in just seven short years. Moreover, when you count bilateral trade in services, our bilateral relationship is nearing $100 billion – up from about $90 billion in 2011. Foreign direct investment into India from the U.S. reached $24.7 billion in 2011,” she said.

The Patna ABC, located at the Indian Chamber of Commerce office, will connect Bihar-based companies with U.S. firms.

Earlier, the U.S. ambassador visited one of the projects supported by the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) in Bihar at the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Research Centre for Eastern Region.

At a meeting attended by government officials, scientists, agriculture staff and women farmers, she said “the U.S.-India partnership is based on the joint commitment to improve agriculture productivity and climate resilience, and increase farm profits.”

The CSISA project is jointly funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

It supports efforts to improve cereal production in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Orissa.

Such efforts utilise improved cropping systems, resulted in better management of natural resources, development of new cereal varieties and hybrids and increased public and private investments in markets.