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US collaboration helps Indian farmers meet World standards

WASHINGTON - A growing agricultural collaboration between the United States and India is helping Indian farmers boost their output and meet international export standards so that India can compete more effectively in world agricultural markets.

Recording the day's market prices. (Pic: USDA)

The partnership, known as the US-Indian Agricultural Knowledge Initiative (AKI), aims to strengthen food security, increase technology information exchange and expand investment in India's farm sector. It involves universities, research institutions, corporations, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA ), US Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Trade Development Agency, the US Department of State and India's National Institute of Agriculture Marketing.

Long-term goals
AKI's long-term goal is to revitalize the green revolution of the 1960s and 1970s and reduce hunger and poverty in India. The United States has committed $24 million through fiscal year 2008 to the partnership, begun in 2005.

Through the AKI, US universities are teaching people involved in India's food industry such practices as maintain perishable foods at proper temperatures, keeping products fresh from farm to consumers' tables and assessing health risks in foods.

Indian participants also are learning more about improvements in crop biotechnology, advances in food processing and marketing, water resources management, aquaculture, animal and plant diseases, and fuels produced from farm products.

India's Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University near Hyderabad is one site for US-Indian cooperation. With US assistance, the university is researching new cultivation methods as well as plant protection and pest control technologies.