Tuesday, November 09, 2010

U.S., India, and African Nations Collaborate to Increase Food Security

President Obama recently announced an emerging partnership between the United States and India to promote food security in Africa. The initiative was announced during Obama's visit to the Indian parliament on Sunday. By synthesizing Indian agricultural technology, U.S. power and wealth, and local African knowledge, leaders hope to find new ways to reduce hunger throughout African countries.

"India probably has the most dynamic, innovative public partnership-orientated approach to agriculture in terms of the incorporation of technology," said USAID Administrator Raj Shah. Similarly, Obama called India a "model for agricultural development." The U.S. hopes to work with African governments and institutions to apply some of India's methods to African farming, with the goal of increasing crop yields and combating hunger. Specifically, the new initiative will link North American, Indian, and African universities together so that experts from each country can share their knowledge and experience.

This partnership offers hope for international collaboration in agriculture, a sector that has long been a topic of contention in global discussions. The issue of agriculture trade policy at the recent Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations ended in gridlock, with many countries vying for more open trade as others continue to protect their markets. While international disagreements over agricultural policy are far from resolved, cooperation between two countries as powerful and different as India and the United States is at least a step in the right direction.

-Elizabeth Newton

SOURCES: Reuters, Economic Times