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The 2nd Green Revolution, courtesy the US?

By George Iype in Hyderabad
Last updated on: March 03, 2006 12:09 IST
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Will United States President George W Bush's visit herald India's second Green Revolution? It most probably may.

To begin with, President Bush is expected to announce $100 million (about Rs 440 crore) for development in agriculture under the US-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture.

This will complement the efforts of the Indian agricultural scientists, who in the last few months have laid a strong foundation for ushering in the second Green Revolution.

The foundation for this great leap forward is the National Commission on Farmers headed by the architect of India's first Green Revolution Dr M S Swaminathan, who has devised a massive programme for agricultural renewal.

The commission has suggested five components:

  • Soil health enhancement
  • Water harvesting and sustainable and equitable use of water
  • Access to affordable credit and crop and life insurance reform
  • Development of appropriate technologies and improved opportunities
  • Infrastructure and regulations for marketing of produce

But what is the US role in ushering in the revolution? Here's how:

The US accounts for 30 percent of global food production with only 4.6 per cent of the world's population. Only 4 percent of the US population is engaged in farming.

Bush's meeting with agricultural scientists and farmers in Hyderabad on Friday comes in the backdrop of the US-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture that was formulated during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's US visit in July last year.

The goal of the Initiative is to re-energise the agricultural relationship between the two nations through collaborative efforts in agricultural research, education and commercial linkages.

As per the plan, a joint board made up of eight members from academia, government and the private sector in both countries have recommended specific projects and funding sources has been formed.

American Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Ellen Terpstra co-chairs the board with Indian Council for Agricultural Research chief Mangala Rai.

Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug and M S Swaminathan are the honorary advisers to the US and Indian wings of the board, respectively.Borlaug and Swaminathan are to meet Bush on Friday to brief him on the initiative.

Some areas of collaboration that the two countries will now embark on include:

  • Agricultural research on sustainable agriculture and marketing systems
  • The use of new information and communication technologies
  • Implementation of international food safety and sanitary requirements, and
  • Other priority areas as determined by the board.

Scientists at the Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University say this initiative between the US and India will definitely emerge as the foundation stone for the second Green Revolution.

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George Iype in Hyderabad