Thirteen African countries have signed a series of partnership agreements with India to enhance the supply of agricultural machinery, credit advancement to farmers and scientific cooperation.
Among other deals, the farm machinery suppliers from the Indian state of Gujarat signed agreements with their counterparts in Ghana, Zambia, Mozambique and Togo for the supply of farm machinery, training on the use of the machinery in mechanized agriculture and cooperation in the use of the machinery.
These partnerships were announced as African Ministers of Agriculture, private sector associations and industry representatives from India and Africa, converged for crucial sessions of deal-making at the 52nd session of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Annual Meetings in India, held last week.
“We feel the areas identified for cooperation could raise agricultural productivity in Africa because these include our support to the Pan African University Institute of Life and Earth Sciences in Ibadan, Nigeria. We want to ensure that capacity building is given full priority,” said Gujarat State Minister of Agriculture Chimanbhai Dharamshibai Shaparia.
“This opportunity is very rare. I am here to ensure that India-Africa cooperation reaches new heights. Africa can feed the world. The Feeding Africa initiative has pointed Africa’s agriculture towards a specific direction. It is all about feeding the world,” he stated.
The Indian Government is currently preparing an aide memoire – an informal diplomatic communication to all African countries – indicating proposed negotiating texts on identified fields of agriculture cooperation, he said at a session on “Africa-India Cooperation: Partnerships for Green Revolution”
India has made a proposal to provide vaccines to enable West African countries to deal with foot and mouth disease – an illness that affects livestock production. The Indian Government also spoke of its eagerness to advance cooperation through rapid expansion of agricultural trade between the two regions.
To ensure a trade balance, the Indian Government is also ready to accept imports of key cereals and grains from African producers. One key import from Africa is expected to be pigeon peas, which the New Delhi-based Indian Government hopes to assist farmers in cultivating.
The Indian Government believes both sides could exchange key commodities through trade – with India availing markets for millet produced from Africa, while India would look for opportunities to sell its wheat to the continent.
Indian officials said there was a huge potential of doing business with African States, considering that most countries are vulnerable to the risk of climate change. The availability of the large Indian market for crops produced from climate adaptation farming would therefore be crucial to saving lives.
The proposals to invest in Africa’s climate-smart future in farming, providing high quality but low-cost farm machinery and opening avenues for cooperation between Indian and African industry group representatives, stood out as one of the most practical highlights of the 52nd session of the AfDB Annual meeting in the outskirts of the Gujarat capital, Ahmedabad.