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India, U.S. agree on farm sector cooperation

India and the United States on Monday agreed to work together to arrest post-harvest crop losses and develop technologies that would lead to food security as part of an “Evergreen Revolution” — four decades after the two first created the Green Revolution.

The agreement was listed in the joint statement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President Barack Obama, released at the end of his three-day visit.

“Building on the historic legacy of cooperation between the India and the United States during the Green Revolution, the leaders also decided to work together to develop, test, and replicate transformative technologies to extend food security as part of an Evergreen Revolution.

“Efforts will focus on providing farmers the means to improve agricultural productivity. Collaboration also will enhance agricultural value chain and strengthen market institutions to reduce post-harvest crop losses,” the statement said.

The Green Revolution of the 1960s saw Indian farmers using high-yielding varieties of seeds and more fertilisers to boost crop output that made the country self-sufficient in food.

However, lack of development of post harvest infrastructure has been resulting in huge losses to the farmers.

Official estimates suggest that the country loses nearly Rs 40,000 crore worth of farm produce annually, mainly vegetables and fruits.

Earlier in his address to members of both Houses of Parliament, President Obama said: “Together, we can strengthen agriculture. Cooperation between Indian and American researchers and scientists sparked the Green Revolution...

“Now, as farmers and rural areas face the effects of climate change and drought, we will work together to spark a second, more sustainable Evergreen Revolution.”

Mr. Obama said the co-operation would be in the areas of weather and crop forecasting system, improvement in the food processing and crop productivity, and optimum uses of natural resources like water.

“Together, we are improving Indian weather forecasting systems before the next monsoon season,” he told members of both the Houses.

India had faced its worst drought in 2009, which badly affected agriculture production, particularly paddy.

“We aim to help millions of Indian farmers and farming households save water and increase productivity, improve food processing so crops don’t spoil on the way to market, and enhance climate and crop forecasting to avoid losses that cripple communities and drive up food prices,” Mr. Obama said.

He noted that India is a leader in using technology to empower farmers, while the U.S. is a leader in agricultural productivity and research.

As part of global food security initiative, Mr. Obama said: “We are going to share India’s expertise with farmers in Africa and this is an indication of India’s rise and we can exploit hard-earned expertise to countries that sees India as a model for agriculture development.”

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 8:41:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/India-U.S.-agree-on-farm-sector-cooperation/article15679474.ece

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