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Agriculture and Food Security

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India's emergence as a regional and global power and a key partner to the U.S. signifies a shift in the U.S.-India relationship from one of a traditional donor-recipient to that of a strategic partnership. As such, USAID‘s agricultural programs in India will address agricultural development challenges in India, while at the same time share the findings and experiences globally. It will do this by leveraging institutional, technological, and human capacity through partnerships and alliances with Indian public and private institutions to collectively achieve greater development impact more efficiently, effectively, and sustainably.

USAID activities focus on three complementary areas:

Agricultural Development Innovations

USAID identifies and supports agricultural innovations that overcome critical constraints in increasing agricultural productivity in key staple crops and value chains in India and other countries. Examples include:

  • Our partnership with the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is developing improved varieties of pigeonpea, locally known as arhar and toor dal, to increase its productivity in India and in African countries such as Kenya and Malawi. Strong partnerships with Indian and African private sector seed companies will assure the effective and efficient distribution and marketing of stress tolerant, high-yielding varieties seeds.
  • By establishing a “one stop shop” that connects farmers to products, markets, information, and advisory services, the Confederation of Indian Industries’ Rural Business Hubs project empowers farmers to profitably participate in agricultural markets. The hubs integrate small-scale and marginalized farmers into the market to better increase their returns. Lessons learned from this activity will provide a model that can be replicated elsewhere in India and abroad.

Share and Transfer Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation

USAID identifies and tests innovations that have the global potential for addressing food insecurity. USAID also adapts, shares, and transfers the successful innovations to other countries. Activities include:

  • The India-Africa Agriculture Innovations Bridge Program shares proven agriculture innovations from India to address food insecurity and malnutrition in Kenya, Liberia, and Malawi.
  • The Cereal System Initiative for South Asia project, jointly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID, improves cropping systems by integrating cutting-edge technologies with resource conservation and management best practices. By developing an innovative farming systems approach, this project increases farmers’ ability to adapt to climate change and rainfall variability. Best practices from these innovative approaches have already been transferred and applied in Bangladesh and Nepal.

Build Institutional and Human Resources Capacity

USAID builds the technical capacity of Indian organizations, institutions, universities, and individuals to conduct training programs for Indian and African partners. USAID also shares best practices with African partners in the private and public sectors. Selected activities include: 

  • The Agriculture Innovations Partnership trains agricultural university faculty to modernize agricultural curricula at Indian State Agricultural
    Universities to prepare a more market-responsive workforce and promote the uptake of new technologies through agriculture extension services.
  • A partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture improves the commodity forecasting capacity of India’s Ministry of Agriculture. The forecasting methods developed in India will serve as a model to predict commodity prices in Kenya, Liberia, and Malawi.
  • The technical capacity building of India’s National Institute for Plant Health Management strengthens Indian expertise in plant health systems and enables the institute to become a regional leader in plant health management. The training center will seek to expand synergies to develop training programs with select African countries.
  • The governments of the U.S., India, and three African countries (Kenya, Liberia, and Malawi) work together to train mid-level African government and private sector representatives. Focusing on modern agricultural extension practices, agricultural marketing, and agribusiness, the training prepares graduates from the program to lead the sharing of technologies and management practices from India to the rest of the world.
  • The Economic Development of Tibetan Settlements project focuses on increasing farmer incomes through the implementation of ecologically friendly agricultural practices and trains the young Tibetan workforce to become productive members of society both in and outside of Tibetan settlements in India and Nepal.

Last updated: July 29, 2015

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