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India-Africa partnership in global food security

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The partnership between India and Africa is rapidly evolving. India and Africa have tie-up as key partners for the global food security with the change of global landscape for agriculture and food.

According to India Inc, India’s experience benefits Africa’s agriculture as Africa’s farm sector estimated to grow to $1 trillion by 2030.

A Didar Singh, the secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said that India needs a renovation and look for consumers whereas the African continent offers one of the most unexploited markets, in a forward to a global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report on agricultural partnership between India and the 54-nation.

According to the PwC report, Africa “represents the ‘last edge in global food and agricultural markets”.

“The continent houses almost 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated land and an abundance of natural resources.”

Due to the financial problem, Nigeria, which is called as the largest African economy, was rotating to China for the commercial agriculture.

Sub-Saharan area is said to have the large percentage of uncultivated fertile land and presence of water and sub-Saharan Africa alone requires $50 billion annual investments to make the agricultural system work better.

Ajay Kakra, the head of PwC India agriculture and natural resources said Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) has 11 of the world’s fastest growing economies and estimated to reach $2.6 trillion by 2020.

“At present, India and Africa together have manpower of almost $2.2 billion and a combined GDP estimate of more than $3 trillion,” Kakra said.

“The agricultural sector in Africa has great potential to contribute to this growth, with the continent having almost 60 percent of uncultivated land in the world and currently producing only 10 percent of the global output,” he added.

The continent hopes to increase $280 billion agricultural output in 2010 to $880 billion in 2030.

“This increase will be enabled by bringing potentially cultivable land into cultivation, increasing yields and shifting to the cultivation of high-value and high-yielding crops,” Kakra said.

“Over the last decade, countries that have increased investments in agriculture as per the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) targets have seen reductions in hunger and poverty, and increases in productivity,” it said.

“Ghana, Togo, Zambia, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Congo, Senegal, Ethiopia and Malawi are some examples,” it added.

The PwC report recommended ‘’public-private’’ partnerships as a chain key to take Africa’s agriculture to the next level and government support to the private sector should not be underestimated.(IANS)

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Cepheid to Establish Manufacturing Unit for TB Diagnostics in India

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment

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The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.
The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach. (IANS)

Expanding its footprint in India, US-based molecular diagnostics company Cepheid Inc on Thursday announced its plans to establish a manufacturing unit in the country to improve Tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics.

Cepheid’s GeneXpert MTB/RIF test is a closed-cartridge-based system that is easy to operate by minimally trained staff and gives results in approximately two hours, speeding the conventional backlog that used to exist in traditional diagnostic methods.

The new manufacturing unit would produce MTB/RIF test cartridges, contribute to the government’s “Make in India” initiative and thus bringing the company’s global expertise in TB diagnostics to India, the company said in a statement.

As part of the plan, Cepheid also unveiled its latest portable, easy-to-use TB-testing system — the GeneXpert Edge — which is expected to be available in India later this year, the company said.

The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.

“Cepheid recognises the need for technological advancement and is committed to contributing significantly to India’s goal of TB eradication,” said Peter Farrell, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Operations, Cepheid.

Cepheid's Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB)
Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB).

“We are hopeful that GeneXpert Edge will help eliminate delays in TB diagnostics by providing definitive results within hours and facilitating fast and easy last-mile delivery even in the remote villages of India,” he added.

India has nearly one-fourth of the global TB patients and an estimated 4.8 lakh lives are lost every year due to delayed diagnosis and inadequate treatment and there are above 2.5 million new cases of TB every year. The country aims to eradicate TB by 2025.

Approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2010, more than 1,200 Cepheid’s GeneXpert Systems have been installed in the last two years at various Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) sites in the country and more than 2.5 million cartridges were supplied last year at various centres of Central TB Division (CTD).

Also Read: Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak in Kerala

Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB) and rifampicin-resistance mutations, which are markers for MDR-TB strains in under two hours.

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment.

Xpert MTB/RIF tests also have excellent negative predictive value, which allows clinicians to manage TB-negative patients more effectively to prevent unnecessary and costly respiratory isolations. (IANS)