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Indo-US Cooperation in Agriculture

GS Paper 2/ 3

 Syllabus: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and affecting India’s interests/ Agriculture and related issues


Source: IE

 Context: A brief history of the US role in independent India’s agricultural development is useful in the context of the Indian PM’s upcoming visit to the US, for strengthening the “global strategic partnership” between the two countries.


Independent India’s agricultural development:


  • Food shortage in pre-independent India: Agriculture was monsoon-dependent and unfavourable rains and natural calamities resulted in crop failures.
  • The planning process in independent India: It identified agriculture as the most prioritised sector and emphasised that ‘everything can wait but agriculture’.
  • Increase in the food grain production: From merely 51 million tons (Mt) in 1950/51 increased over 6 times to over 314 Mt in 2022.
    • The country became the largest producer of milk, pulses and jute and the second-largest producer of rice, wheat, cotton, fruits and vegetables in the world.


Role played by the US in India’s agricultural development:

  • The first Agricultural University:
    • The UP Agricultural University (later renamed B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology) was inaugurated in 1960.
    • It is based on the US land-grant model – which integrated teaching, research and extension.
    • Thereafter 7 more universities received the US Agency for International Development’s assistance for the training of faculty and the provision of equipment and books.
  • The Green Revolution’s seeds:
    • The US aided India’s Green Revolution by supplying seeds with a high output when administered with more inputs (nutrients and water).
    • By 1968, India had transformed from a ship-to-mouth shortage economy to a country that shut down schools and cinema theatres to store surplus food.
  • Recent cooperation: The two countries revived the S.-India Agriculture Dialogue as well as the U.S.-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative (AKI) to share extensive experience in agricultural research, training, and extension.




Why does the US help India?

  • The Cold War geopolitics and great-power rivalry of those times resulted in competition to extend help to those goods that were viewed as “global public goods”.
    • India’s strategy of “non-alignment” paid off then, just as “multi-alignment” is today.
  • Opportunities for U.S. investors in India’s agri-markets: Today, the Indian market can provide significant new investment opportunities in cold chain transportation logistics and frozen foods distribution.




Cooperation with other countries:

  • India and Israel are implementing the “INDO-ISRAEL Agricultural Project Centres of Excellence” and “INDO-ISRAEL Villages of Excellence”.
  • India and Vietnam agreed to strengthen their specific cooperation to develop a hi-tech agricultural relation in association with environmental protection.
  • An India-ASEAN Working Group on Agriculture has been formed, as agriculture is a critical sector for the economy of India as well as the ASEAN Member States.




Indian agriculture continues to battle several challenges: Such as increasing productivity against the backdrop of –

  • Increasing population,
  • Depleting natural resource base,
  • Aggravating climate change and
  • Reducing farm income.




Targets that India has prioritised:

  • Doubling farmer’s income,
  • Reducing fertiliser use (by 25%) and water use (by 20%),
  • Increasing use of renewable energy (50%),
  • Reducing GHG emission intensity (45%) and rehabilitating degraded land of 26 million ha (Mha).




Way forward:

  • A multi-pronged strategy with integration, diversification, intensification, customisation, and farm mechanisation, to realise the full potential of Indian farming.
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the National Agricultural Research, Education and Extension System (NAREES) are determined –
    • To harness the advances of S&T
    • To infuse pull and push in agriculture for the all-around welfare of society.


Insta Links:

Indian agriculture under the five-year plans


Mains Links:

Explain various types of revolutions, that took place in Agriculture after Independence in India. How have these revolutions helped in poverty alleviation and food security in India? (UPSC 2017)


Prelims Links: (UPSC 2021)

In the context of India’s preparation for Climate-smart Agriculture, consider the following statements:

  1. The ‘Climate-Smart Village’ approach in India is part of a project led by the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), an international research programme.
  2. The project of CCAFS is carried out under the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) headquartered in France.
  3. The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India is one of the CGIAR’s research centres.


Which of the statements given above are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 Only
  2. 2 and 3 Only
  3. 1 and 3 Only
  4. 1, 2 and 3


Ans: 4