Indo-US cooperation in agriculture


As for supporting India’s view to strengthen the “global strategic partnership” with USA, the contributions of Rockefeller and Ford Foundation during 1950-60s, in development of India’s green revolution and supporting Agriculture sector must be focused.

India’s Agriculture sector and Green Revolution:

  • In India, the green revolution was launched under the guidance of geneticist M. S. Swaminathan.
  • The Green Revolution was a period that began in the 1960s during which agriculture in India was converted into a modern industrial system by the adoption of technology, such as the use of high-yielding variety (HYV) seeds, mechanised farm tools, irrigation facilities, pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Aim:
    • The green revolution’s primary aim was to introduce high-yielding varieties (HYVs) of cereals to alleviate poverty and malnutrition.

Benefits of Green Revolution:

  • There are undoubtedly positive effects on the overall food security in India.
  • The Green Revolution within India led to an increase in agricultural production, especially in Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The green revolution led to the high productivity of crops through adapted measures, such as:
    • Increased area under farming,
    • Double-cropping, which includes planting two crops rather than one, annually,
    • Adoption of HYV of seeds,
    • Highly increased use of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides,
    • Improved irrigation facilities, and
    • Improved farm implements and crop protection measures.

USA’s Rockefeller and Ford Foundation:

  • The Rockefeller Foundation is an American private foundation and philanthropic medical research and arts funding organization based at New York City.
  • The National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health are also modelled on the work funded by Rockefeller.
  • It has also been a supporter of and influence on the United Nations.
  • Contributions in Agriculture research:
  • Borlaug’s International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center or CIMMYT at Mexico was primarily funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. The latter, along with the Ford Foundation, also supported the International Rice Research Institute at Philippines.

Why Agriculture-sector matters?

  • Agriculture is the dominant sector of our economy & contributes in various ways. Agriculture in India is a livelihood for a majority of the population and it holds a lot of potential in itself.
  • Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of India’s population.
  • Gross Value Added by agriculture, forestry, and fishing was estimated at Rs. 19.48 lakh crore FY20.
  • The share of agriculture and allied sectors in gross value added (GVA) of India at current prices stood at 20.2 % in 2020-21.
  • Although the contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) has reduced to less than 20 per cent and the contribution of other sectors increased at a faster rate, agricultural production has grown.
  • The Indian food industry is poised for huge growth, increasing its contribution to the world food trade every year due to its immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry.

Challenges in trade between India-US:

  • In Agriculture: Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) barriers in India limit U.S. agricultural exports – The United States questions the scientific and risk-based justifications of such barriers.
    • An on-going issue is India’s purported compliance with a WTO decision against its ban on U.S. poultry imports and live swine due to avian influenza concerns.
    • Each side also sees the other’s agricultural support programs as market-distorting;
    • India’s view of its programs from a food security lens complicates matters.
  • In Services: The United States and India are competitive in certain services industries. Barriers to U.S. firms’ market access include India’s limits on foreign ownership and local presence requirements.
    • For India, a key issue is U.S. temporary visa policies, which affect Indian nationals working in the United States.
    • India is challenging U.S. fees for worker visas in the WTO, and monitoring potential U.S. action to revise the H-1B (professional worker) visa program. India also continues to seek a “totalization agreement” to coordinate social security protection for workers who split their careers between the two countries.
    • The U.S. can be faulted for not seeing the bigger picture. It’s China that’s distorting the global playing field, and U.S. trade policy should be focused on finding and building alliances with countries such as India to combat that larger problem.
    • India has the potential to be a giant market, which U.S. companies might need if they’re slowly squeezed out of China.

Localization Trade Barriers: The United States continues to press India on its “forced” localization practices. Initiatives to grow India’s manufacturing base and support jobs include requirements for in-country data storage and local content for government procurement in some sectors

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