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INDO-US Cooperation in Agriculture

New Delhi
November 20, 2006
(Press Information Bureau)

India and the United States stand for removal of asymmetries and distortions in international agricultural trade as emphasized in the Doha round of negotiations on agriculture. Both the countries are for enhanced market access with adequate and effective safeguards for food and livelihood security alongwith the establishment of level playing field. This was agreed upon by Mr. Michael Johanns, Secretary, US Department of Agriculture and Shri Sharad Pawar, Union Minister for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution at a meeting held here today. Both the sides welcomed early resumption of negotiations and agreed to make all efforts to achieve an ambitious, balanced, and pro-development outcome. 

The meeting reviewed progress on Indo-US Agricultural Knowledge-Initiative, resolution of bilateral trade and related sanitary and phytosanitary issues and expressed satisfaction at the progress made in this area. Both the leaders recognized long history of cooperation between the two countries in agriculture and hoped that the knowledge initiative would provide much needed impetus to address the new challenges and opportunities facing modern day agriculture. In the short period of 5 months, 19 scientists from National Agricultural Research System of India have received training in leading US laboratory in the areas of biotechnology, water management, food processing distance learning and library system. 

For the year 2007, about 12 additional Indo-US Borlaug Fellowships are planned. The knowledge shared between India and US in agriculture will be put in practice through joint collaborative projects comprising cool chain development for food and vegetable involving CIPHET (ICAR), Ludhiana, CIFT (ICAR), Kochi for fish and marine produce, during 2007. A project on pea genomics has been initiated at National Research Centre consequent to the workshop on Genomics-enabled Molecular Breeding in Legume organized by University of California, Davis. Four projects have been identified under Indo-US workshop on water management. Opportunities for US investment in post harvest infrastructure are also to be identified by both sides in preparation for the Trade and Investment Mission. It was agreed to start research project on draught, salinity and virus resistance through transgenic means. 

Bilateral issues in agricultural trade of concern to the two sides including sanitary and phytosanitary issues are being addressed by the sub-group on Agriculture under the India-US Trade Policy Forum. The two sides reviewed the status, and agreed to move forward expeditiously, on these items which were under examination, of either country. 

On Plant Quarantine issues, while the two sides expressed satisfaction regarding resolution of problems relating to import of almonds from US, the Indian side urged the US side to complete all formalities so as to permit import of mangoes from India before the start of 2007, mango season. 

With regard to marketing issues, the two sides hoped that the Work Plan prepared under the MoU signed between USAID and National Institute of Agricultural Marketing, Jaipur in July, 2006 would be complementary to the agricultural reforms being carried out in India. Expertise of US in creating modern marketing infrastructure could be used for capacity building and creating model markets in selected states.