Africa looks up to Punjab for ‘green revolution’March 28th, 2010 - 11:31 am ICT by IANS
By Alkesh Sharma
Chandigarh, March 28 (IANS) African countries are eyeing Indian technology and expertise, especially from Punjab, to bring in a green revolution that will help them ensure food security and even export food grains to other countries.
“With a proven, impressive track record in the field of agriculture, India is a role model for us. We are hoping to bring the same green revolution in Africa that India saw many years back,” Jose Maria Morais, Mozambique high commissioner, told IANS here.
“Ninety percent of our population is living in the countryside and is engaged in agriculture. Agriculture is our government’s priority and there is huge scope for Indian farmers and investors. In fact, to attract Indian farmers, our government is offering them countless tax benefits and other incentives,” he said.
Morais was here as part of an African delegation of ambassadors and high commissioners to participate in a conference on opportunities for agriculture in Africa and a business meeting in Patiala.
Nimisha J. Madhvani, high commissioner of Uganda, said: “Out of the 33 million population of Uganda, 98 percent is pursuing agriculture and its share in our economy is nearly 65 percent. It would be a win-win situation for Indian entrepreneurs and farmers if they move towards Uganda at this juncture.”
“We have an open investment policy and a free monetary system. They do not require buying the land and can take it on lease for a period of 49 years or more,” said Madhvani, who has her roots in Gujarat from where her grandfather had migrated decades ago.
She said that since 2008 Indian entrepreneurs have established three sugar mills in Uganda.
“They are earning good profits and besides sugar they are also set to generate power from the same plant. Indian farmers have done wonders throughout the world. Therefore, we are very keen on attracting them,” said Madhvani.
Jonathan Wutawunashe, ambassador of Zimbabwe, said: “In Punjab, we see exciting level of use of technology, innovation, hard work and commitment to agriculture. Zimbabwe is very eager to collaborate with them so that we can bring same changes in our fields.”
“We want Indian farmers to bring their technology to Zimbabwe and invest in huge pockets of fertile land lying unused there. We are yearning to bring a green revolution in Zimbabwe through working closely with Punjab farmers,” he added.
Africa is a vast continent with about 900 million people living in 54 countries. The world’s three percent (900,000 hectares) of the total organic agriculture land, which is very good for production, is in Africa.
Gennet Zewide, ambassador of Ethiopia, told IANS: “Indians are taking thousands of hectares of land on lease basis for 25 to 50 years. In Ethiopia weather conditions and soil are very favourable. At some places we have fertility and organic content as high as six percent whereas in India at most of the places it is below one percent.”
“Around 400 Indian investors have invested $4 billion in Ethiopia in the last few years - in different areas like mining, floriculture and horticulture,” said Zewide.
The Indian government is quite supportive.
“We have identified over 350 people to impart training in the Sub-Saharan region and other areas in Africa where food processing units can be set up for Indian investors,” said Gurjit Singh, joint secretary in the ministry of external affairs.
India-Africa trade has surged from a mere $5.2 billion in 2002-03 to $45 billion at present. It is expected to reach $55 billion by 2012, of which the share of agri-business would be around $15 billion, officials said.
(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at email@example.com)
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- Ethiopia offers India farmland, 40 percent the size of Punjab (Lead) - Feb 02, 2011
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- African farmland to Indian firms no cause for worry: UN official - Feb 13, 2011
- India names new envoy to Uganda - Jan 06, 2011
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- Zambia seeks India's help for Green Revolution - Mar 19, 2012
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- India's democratic development a lesson for Africa: Ethiopia Deputy PM - May 22, 2011
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Tags: african countries, agriculture agriculture, business meeting, food grains, food security, green revolution, gujarat, high commissioners, impressive track record, indian entrepreneurs, indian farmers, indian technology, investment policy, jose maria, juncture, living in the countryside, monetary system, nimisha, patiala, sugar mills