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USDA Reports Progress At U.S.-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative Meeting


Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced the collaborative achievements of the U.S.-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative (AKI) following the group’s fifth board meeting, held today in Washington, DC.

“Through the AKI partnership, we have made significant progress to forge lasting private sector and university relationships between our two countries that will flourish well into the future,” said Secretary Johanns.

The AKI was announced by President Bush and Premier Singh in July 2005 to renew collaboration between the United States and India. A work plan, formulated in February 2006, defined the Initiative into four focus areas: university capacity building, food processing and marketing, biotechnology and water management.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of State and U.S. Trade Development Agency, AKI activities under the four areas of agricultural collaboration include:

Capacity Building

Funding for Indian participants in Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellows Program to study best agricultural and food processing practices and biotechnology; exchange of Fulbright Scholar Program students from the United States and India
Three new USAID Higher Education Partnerships between U.S. Land Grant universities and Indian state agricultural universities
For 2007, 10 more participants for the USAID Farmer to Farmer Program
A workshop on sanitary and phytosanitary capacity building, as well as science-based risk analysis and modeling, scheduled in India in summer 2007
A trade and investment mission for U.S. agribusinesses in early 2008
Food Processing and Marketing

Funding for Cochran Fellowship Program participants to learn about marketing practices in the United States
Training in cold chain technology, sanitary and phytosanitary techniques, strengthening marketing systems through extension training, contract farming, linking farmers and markets and micro-enterprise development
Two train-the-trainer sessions on strengthening agricultural marketing systems in October 2007
USDA collaboration with Indian hosts at the Fall 2007 meeting of CODEX Committee of Food Hygiene
Development of online resources for contract farming

Training scientists to use biotechnological tools to solve agricultural problems and improve crops
Training biotechnological patent examiners and developers of universally accepted regulations and standards
Workshop on harnessing the benefits of biotechnology
User’s guide to food safety guidelines to be produced in 2007
Biotechnology research partnerships between a U.S. biotechnology company and Indian private and public sector partners to develop new rice varieties that tolerate drought and salt
Water Resources Management

University staff from Iowa State University to set up distance learning classrooms at three Indian universities in August 2007
Fifteen students from both countries to be recruited to participate in U.S.-India “sandwich” degree program in international water management, beginning summer 2007
Research projects established at Indian universities on using waste water for irrigation and harvesting water for recharging groundwater
U.S. undergraduate students (10-15) to travel to India to work with Indian students on design projects
Workshop to discuss measurement, monitoring and identification of research needs in September 2007
The 16 board members come from academic, government and private sectors. USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Agricultural Services A. Ellen Terpstra and Mangala Rai, Secretary of India’s Department of Agricultural Research and Education and Director General of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research, co-chair the board. The board will meet again in late 2007 to evaluate current projects and determine new joint ventures.


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