India committed to developing Africa’s agriculture sector, says Muraleedharan

Stating that food Security is a common thread which binds both India and Africa, India has donated food aid worth of US $ 15.8 million to various African countries…reports Asian Lite News

India is committed to develop Africa’s agriculture sector, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said on Tuesday.

This is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 10 ‘Broad Guiding Principles’ that have defined New Delhi’s engagement with Africa for the 21st century partnership, Muraleedharan said at the India-Africa Agriculture and Food Processing Summit.

Noting that India is still largely an agrarian country and feeds a population of more than 1.3 billion people, he informed that the agriculture sector contributes around 18% to the total GDP of India and is the largest employer providing employment to 54% of the total workforce.

Similarly, in Africa, two-thirds of the population are make a living through agriculture but the sector contributes less than one-third to the continent’s GDP, the Minister added.

Stating that food Security is a common thread which binds both India and Africa, he said under humanitarian assistance, India has donated food aid worth of US $ 15.8 million to various African countries to support their fight against hunger and poverty.

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Africa has significant land to offer for production of various products, and India would like to explore the opportunity to invest overseas and produce crops, while creating large scale employment, generating income, and even allow the economy to move up the value chain through creation of agro-processing facilities, the Minister highlighted.

In the 20th century, the India-Africa partnership further strengthened during their fight against colonialism, he said.

“The spirit of non-interference and mutual respect for each other reached new heights in India-Africa relations to fulfill the spirit of “developing together as equals,” the Minister said.

This robust and dynamic relationship has been buttressed with the presence of strong and vibrant Indian diaspora, business community and professionals, he argued.

The last 6 years saw intense political engagement between India and Africa with 34 outgoing visits from India at the level of President, Vice President and Prime Minister and more than 100 incoming visits at HoS/HoG and Ministerial level, Muraleedharan informed.

These have reinforced India’s ties with Africa, he added.

To enhance diplomatic engagements with Africa, India already has 40 Resident Missions in Africa and the number will reach 47 after opening 7 new Missions in the near future, the Minister noted.

India’s long standing development partnership with African countries was officially structured under India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) in 2008, he stated.

Three editions of IAFS and unprecedented participation from 41 African HOG/HOS in the IAFS-III in 2015 were testimony to India growing engagement with Africa, Muraleedharan noted.

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