Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, October 29, 2015

India-Africa conclave discusses agri cooperation

26-30 October 2015. New Delhi. A five-day India-Africa conclave took place in India to deliberate on the need for greater cooperation in agriculture and agro-processing, which would have a positive impact on the food security situation in Africa and India.

The third India-Africa Forum Summit, which is the largest gatherings of African nations outside the continent, is being attended by all the 54 African countries. About 40 African presidents and prime ministers participated in the event along with several ministers and other dignitaries. The two previous India-Africa Forum summits were held in 2008 in New Delhi and in 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is the first time that an international summit on such a scale is being held in India, after the Non-Aligned Summit in 1983; the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in the same year saw the participation of 42 countries.

While the meeting between the heads of the government and states took place on October 29, it was preceded by rounds of interactions between the ministers and the senior officials.

India has been extending support for the development of cotton sector in the Cotton Four (C-4) countries (i.e. Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali) and also in Nigeria, Uganda and Malawi where India is providing cotton technical
assistance, support and cooperation India has already a well-established national research system, seed sector and testing laboratories in place.

In this scenario, an enhanced Africa-India STI cooperation can play a significant role in facilitating African countries for building R and D infrastructure, working out necessary Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), sharing successful mutual practices and expertise, and supplying appropriate planting materials.

India has already provided better sugarcane germplasm to Ethopia for higher yields.

Many business enterprises such as Jain Irrigation, Karuturi Global, Kirloskar Brothers, Ruchi Soya and Renuka Sugars have established presence in several countries in farm and related sectors. In addition, several new players such as Yes Bank and McLeod Russel are making forays into the agriculture sector in the continent.

The Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India has been entrusted with the capacity building of African countries through Agricultural education of African students in different Agricultural Universities/ Deemed Universities of Indian Council of Agricultural Research. In accordance, the students from Africa are being admitted in Indian Agricultural Universities for M. Sc. and Ph. D. programmes.

This initiative has received very good response from the African students; 49 students got admission for various courses during the first year of its launch in 2010 itself and 57 in the second year. Further, various training programmes were also organised in India under IAFS-I for capacity building of African scientists.

DARE has also been entrusted to establish some centres in the Africa such as
  1. Soil, Water and Tissue Testing Laboratories; 
  2. Farm Science Centres; and 
  3. Agricultural Seed Production-cum-Demonstration Centres. 
The work relating to establishment of these centres have been taken up with the Ministry of External Affairs. Many countries in Africa have identified locations, building, etc. for the projects and some countries have already been visited by experts from India to study the existing infrastructure

India-Africa Fellowship Programme
To support theagriculturalhuman resource development in Africa, Government of India has implemented placements for 300 fellowships (75 per yeari.e. 50 Masters and 25 Ph.D.) to be provided for 4 years (2010-14) for students/faculty/professionals of African continent. The Fellowship programme started in the year 2010-11. The outcome of the programme is as follows:
  • A total of 195 candidates (119 Master's and 76 Ph.D.) have joined higher degree programme, at various Indian Agriculture University/Deemed University/research Institutes.
  • Out of 195 candidates, 78 Master's and 27 Ph.D. students have successfully completed their programme.
  • Maximum enrolments of candidates under the scheme are from the countries: Nigeria, Ethiopia and Sudan.
  • Gender wise breaks up shows participation of 162 Males and 33 females under India Africa Fellowship Scheme.
  • Enrolment of Tanzanian females is more than males in Masters’ programme.
  • Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) Coimbatore hosted maximum number of African candidates to pursue higher degree programmes.
  • Discipline Agricultural Economics has been the major area of interest by Africans.
The India-Africa Fellowship programme under IAFS I has been running successfully and it is believed that Indian government shall very soon implement a renewal of the India-Africa Fellowship Programme.

DARE also organised a meeting of H.E. the Ambassadors/High Commissioners of African countries in India on the 15th September, 2015 in India, where several aspects of cooperation in agricultural sectors were discussed, including modalities for implementing the projects proposed under IAFS and facilitating more and better opportunities for African students studying in India.

India-Africa trade: Continuous sunshine | October 2015 
- Author(s): ASSOCHAM-TARI (File size: 4.75 MB)

Key Future Potential related to agriculture in Africa:
  • India has a golden opportunity to initiate partnerships with African nations in agriculture where it can benefit from the increased African output while contributing positively to Africa in terms of technical assistance, skill building, and research and development in agriculture. Africa will benefit in terms of increased output by using idle capacity, mainly unused arable land.
  • Food and beverage spending is projected to expand the most in absolute terms, compared to any other consumer good category. However, with continuous development usually the spending pattern shifts towards higher quality goods. If consumption actually rises along with an increase in household income at the current rate then rapid increases are expected in retail banking, telecom and housing.
  • Partnership in agriculture: While India can help Africa in agricultural capacity building, Africa can help India in ensuring future food security.
  • A sizeable section of African diaspora is present in India – in the form of students, diplomats, workers of different governments of Africa and tourists. African companies can easily export African processed food to cater to this population. Urban India is increasingly showing tendencies to consume foods of different continents, and therefore food and agro-based exports from Africa have a potential market in India. Indian and respective agricultural ministries of African countries should have an active cooperation for such exports of African foods and agro-based products.
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