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Agriculture, most important area of India-U.S. collaboration: Hillary

Devesh K. Pandey

‘With 3 % of world’s crop land, India feeds 17 % of global population’

— PHOTO: SHANKER CHAKRAVARTY

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar (left) with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the National Agricultural Science Centre at the IARI Complex in New Delhi on Sunday.

NEW DELHI: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday said agriculture would be the strongest and most important pillar of cooperation between the United States and India.

During a visit to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute here (IARI), Ms. Clinton said: “We collaborated for more than 50 years and today we are called to collaborate once again. We have to work together because it is imperative that we invest in science, that we do more to link farms and markets so that farmers can sell their products, that we extend export of technology and training to bring more assistance to the farmers as a vulnerable community worldwide, and we strengthen our response to climate change which threatens the waterways in the agricultural part of the world.”

Ms. Clinton said that with just 3 per cent of world’s crop land, India fed 17 per cent of the world’s population. “As we look to strengthen agriculture and fight hunger, particularly in South Asia, Africa and elsewhere, India’s leadership is absolutely crucial. I think the bio-energy, bio-security and bio-diversity challenge that we confront is one that we can meet,” she said.

Stating that the problem of hunger and malnutrition affected nearly a billion people in the world, the U.S. Secretary of State expressed the belief that the world had the resources to face the challenge. She said it was the signature issue of the Obama administration to do what could be done to fight hunger and extend food security.

“And India is well positioned to help us lead this fight. Work has already begun. I just saw that the scientists are developing seeds that produce higher yield, crops that require less water, farm equipment that conserve energy. All of this is part of meeting the challenge that we face from global hunger,” she said, adding that research was a critical component of the comprehensive approach to improving agriculture.

She said there was a need to connect the laboratories — where new technologies were being developed and research was being done — to the fields, where the farmers laboured, to the markets, where the crops were sold, and finally to the homes that relied on the labour of the farmers.

However, Ms. Clinton said the job at hand was not for the governments alone and that private sector had an essential role to play and so did universities, research laboratories, institutions and non-governmental organisations.

Ms. Clinton, who was received by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, visited the IARI to oversee the research and education programmes of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the work of many of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research centres that had been key U.S. partners since the Green Revolution.

Also see

  • Reprocessing talks with U.S. to begin next week
  • Dismantle terror outfits, Hillary tells Pakistan
  • ‘We want India to move towards greener energies’
  • Hillary calls for inclusive education
  • Avoiding One Pitfall in U.S.-India Relations: Michael Krepon & Samuel Black (PDF)

    Also see:

  • Images: Hillary Clinton visits India
  • No pressure was put on India: Hillary

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