The promise came as the US leader and Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh underlined the “deepening bilateral co-operation” between the two nations at a meeting in Washington DC this week.
In a wide-ranging joint statement, the two leaders backed proposals to work towards world-wide food security through closer collaboration in a host of sectors including food processing and food productivity – particularly in the sharing of technology and research.
Obama and Singh said they anticipated increasing India-US agricultural cooperation with the purpose of promoting agricultural research, human resources capacity building, natural resource management, agri-business and food processing, and collaborative research for increasing food productivity.
“This cooperation would contribute to joint development of technology that would improve weather forecasting, including predicting monsoons, and technology that would contribute to food productivity and food security efforts in India,” said the leaders.
The Indian Government has highlighted the food processing sector as an engine of economic growth for the country, with foreign investment seen as playing a significant role in this. In recent months, both France and the Netherlands have pledged to invest in the country’s burgeoning processing sector. Last week, India unveiled ambitious plans to double the size of the food processing sector within five years.
The endorsement of its plan by Obama is the second in the last six months from the top echelons of the US administration. In July, Hillary Clinton said the United States wanted India to expand its food processing output and what she called “value added agriculture”.
Her comments, made at the National Agricultural Science Centre in Mumbai, were once again made in the context of global food security. She pledged the US government’s support in continuing collaboration over investment in science to increase crop yields but also to bolster the country’s infrastructure to ensure food travels from farm to fork in the most efficient way possible.