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With vast untapped potential in Agriculture, Africa seeks Agricultural Transformation with India’s Help

Africa is estimated to have 65 percent of world's uncultivated land but only about 10 percent of global food output

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An agricultural land in Vietnam. Image. Wikimedia

– by Prashant Sood

Gandhinagar, May 28, 2017: With a vast untapped potential in agriculture, African countries are keen to gain from India’s experiences, including the “green revolution”, to bring about a transformation and enable their 420 million poor people to come out of poverty.

Africa is estimated to have 65 percent of world’s uncultivated land but only about 10 percent of global food output.

African Development Bank (AfDB) officials said after their annual meeting here last week that its focus on “transforming agriculture to create wealth” has sparked interest among a vast section, including youth, researchers and the private sector to treat agriculture as a business.

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The meeting boosted Africa’s partnership with India in agriculture as also in several other areas, including infrastructure, electricity generation, skill development and healthcare.

Officials said that AfDB will invest $24 billion in African agriculture in the next 10 years and the sector is estimated to generate $1 trillion in business by 2030.

Chiji Ojukwu, Director, Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department, AfDB, said that India experienced a “green revolution” using improved seed varieties and best agronomic practices, and was able to lift large sections of its population out of poverty — and Africa has a lot to learn from India in order to achieve similar success.

“We can leapfrog, taking advantage of the successes of India, to borrow their technologies and to bring Indian experts to assist Africa,” Ojukwu told IANS.

He said India has made advances in irrigation solutions, milk production, cooling and processing, in solar for generating power for agriculture and Information and Communication Technology.

“African companies and governments can collaborate with Indian agricultural systems and companies to bring these experiences to Africa, to help Africa achieve its agricultural transformation, and lift its 420 million that live on less than $1.25 a day out of poverty,” he said.

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Indian officials said that AfDB’s five key priority areas — Light Up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve quality of life for the people of Africa — had similarity to some of the thrust areas of the Narendra Modi government.

They said that Industrialise Africa is similar to the Make in India initiative and Light Up and Power Africa to the government’s goal of electricity for all and its efforts to boost renewable energy.

They said that Africa and India had several commonalities in terms of a shared history, challenges as also demographics, with youth comprising over 60 percent of the population.

Indian companies have been investing in Africa in areas such as telecommunications, hydrocarbon exploration, IT, education, water treatment, petroleum refining, retail, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, coal, automobiles, floriculture and engineering.

India is also pursuing long-term arrangements for supply of agricultural products, specially pulses. Its cooperation with Africa is demand-driven and free of conditions.

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Former Foreign Secretary Shashank said India should move much more strongly in Africa.

“India is seen as an alternative to Chinese investment and the kind of conditionalities being imposed on African countries either by the international institutions or Western countries,” Shashank, who was at the conference, told IANS.

He said India can increase its exports to African countries.

“In many cases, we find that our exports are not that competitive but in Africa we can try to make our exports more competitive. Already our bilateral rade has gone fairly high,” he said.

Africa-India trade was estimated at $56 billion in 2015-16, accounting for about 10 percent of India’s total trade.

Shahank said it was “very significant” that the AfDB meeting was held in India for the first time. The five-day annual meeting of AfDB was attended by 54 African members and 27 non-regional member-countries of the organisation. It came almost 18 months after India hosted the third India Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi which was attended by all 54 African countries.

He said it will also help neutralise any negative perception about isolated incidents that had cropped up between the African students in India and the local community.

He also welcomed the Asia-Africa corridor supported by India and Japan, saying the two countries can do quite well in Africa by going together.

“India has that political acceptability, goodwill is there. India goes there, people are happy. Japan’s technology, its finances, Indian fiances and technology and its technical expertise, if they go together, they can do quite well in Africa,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his inaugural address, had said that Africa was a top priority for his government’s foreign and economic policy. (IANS)

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Manushi Chhillar from India Wins the Miss World 2017 Title

India's Manushi Chillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant here, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

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Manushi Chhillar has been crowned as Miss World 2017. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

China, November 19: India’s Manushi Chhillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

Chhillar competed against 108 contestants from various countries at a glittering event held at Sanya City Arena here.

Miss World 2016 winner Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle gave away the coveted crown to the winner.

Chhillar, who is from Haryana, had earlier this year won the Femina Miss India 2017.

Miss world
Anti Ageing was the official skin care expert for Manushi Chhillar at the Miss World 2017 pageant. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

India, England, France, Kenya and Mexico grabbed the top five spots at the peagant.

Manushi, born to doctor parents, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

Her entire family including brother and sister were present and they looked excited watching Manushi grabbing top five spot.

As many as 108 beauty queens from different parts of the world participated in the prestigious pageant. (IANS)

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The major Challenge is to make the Youth of the Country Entrepreneurial and not Job Seekers : Venkaiah Naidu

"The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers," Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government's various initiatives.

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Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu. Wikimedia Commons
  • At a time of tepid job growth and continuing income disparities, the major challenge is to make the youth of the country entrepreneurial and not job seekers, Vice President  Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.

“Disparities continue to remain in India and so there is a need for inclusive growth… there is the need to take care of the suppressed, oppressed and depressed,” Venkaiah Naidu said at the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s (BYST) silver jubilee celebrations here with Britain’s Prince Charles as the chief guest.

“The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers,” Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government’s various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises like Startup India, Standup India and the Mudra financing scheme for underprivileged sections.

Modelled on Prince Charles’ Trust for business startups, BYST, founded by Lakshmi Venkatesan, daughter of former President R. Venkatraman, is engaged in building rural entrepreneurship — “grampreneurs” — as also enterprise among under-privileged sections, which includes business mentoring. The current BYST chairman is Bajaj Group chief, Rahul Bajaj.

“Without mentoring, it would be very difficult to set up startups, with all the business, marketing and other vital issues involved in the first two-three years,” Prince Charles said in his address at the International Mentoring Summit organized by BYST to mark its 25 years.

“What amazes me are the sheer number of jobs these young entrepreneurs had created. The aim of such a project should be to create a virtual cycle of creating entrepreneurs who can then invest in the future of business,” Charles said referring to his trust.

BYST was officially launched in 1992 by Prince Charles and expanded its operations to six major regions of India.

Out of these six regions, four — Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad — run the urban programme while two regions — Haryana and Maharashtra — run the rural programme.(IANS)

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India sends Emergency Fuel Supplies to Sri Lanka

According to Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan, Modi assured all assistance from India to Sri Lanka following Siriena's request for emergency fuel supplies and petrol shipments.

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India is sending additional fuel to Sri Lanka, confirmed PMO onTwitter (representative image) Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 9, 2017 : Following reports of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) rejecting a shipment of petrol from Lanka IOC (LIOC), the Sri Lankan subsidiary of Indian Oil, India on Wednesday made emergency fuel supplies to Sri Lanka following a telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

“In the telephone conversation with Sri Lankan President @MaithripalaS, PM @narendramodi conveyed that India is sending additional fuel to Sri Lanka and assured India’s continued support for development cooperation,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) tweeted.

According to Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan, Modi assured all assistance from India to Sri Lanka following Siriena’s request for emergency fuel supplies and petrol shipments.

LIOC has made available 3,500 kilo litres of its own stock to CPC, Doordarshan said in a shared tweet.

A ship with an additional 21,000 kilo litres of petrol also left for Sri Lanka and additional petrol is being made available from Kochi refinery in Kerala.

Citing CPC sources, the Sunday Times said an emergency fuel supplies’ shipment that arrived at the Colombo harbour on October 17 had been tested for a second time and rejected on a quality test.

However, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he did not agree that LIOC was responsible for the current fuel shortage in the country and said two oil shipments would be arriving in the country within two day, acording to a report in the Colombo Page.

“Apart from petrol shipment arriving on November 8, another shipment is due from India on November 9, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe informed the parliament on Tuesday responding to a question raised in the parliament regarding the fuel crisis,” the statement said.

It said that Wikremesinghe said a discussion was held with the Indian High Commissioner in this regard and the Indian ship would arrive either November 9 or 10. (IANS)