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US, India partner to aid farming in Africa

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Wednesday announced three partnerships with Indian organisations to share low-cost agricultural innovations and technologies with African countries.

"USAID has granted financial awards to three Indian organizations through its India-Africa Agriculture Innovations Bridge Programme, aimed at sharing Indian innovations with African countries for increased food security and nutrition under Feed the Future, the US government's Global Hunger & Food Security Initiative," said an US embassy release here.

The technologies to be shared were developed by Indian innovators and include a low-cost tractor, an organic fertilizer, and a solar dryer, it added

USAID, in partnership with Indian non-profit organization Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI) will transfer three types of low-cost mechanization and processing equipment to Kenya.

In partnership with Indian company AquAgri Processing Private Limited, USAID will improve agriculture production by promoting African farmers’ use of organic fertilizer made out of a seaweed extract.

"Over the next three years, the company will develop a fertilizer concentrate and powder to export and market to at least seven African countries," the statement said.

In the third project, USAID will partner Science for Society to introduce Solar Conduction Dryers (SCD) for reducing post-harvest losses in Africa. SCD, a unique low-cost Indian innovation, provides an electricity-free solution to preserve food in some environments where there is no ready access to electricity, the statement said.

India has emerged as a hub for low-cost, effective local innovations to deal with challenges arising from factors like climate change, shrinking natural resources, decline in cultivable land and rising demand for food.