US-India agriculture training programme begins

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Jaipur: The US ambassador to India Richard R Verma inaugurated the third US-India triangular training on `Emerging Trends in Fruits and Vegetable Marketing' at the CCS National Institute of Agricultural Marketing in Jaipur on Thursday. 

The training is part of a $4 mil lion collaborative partnership between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and India's ministry of agriculture. Twentyeight participants, including policy makers and farmers from nine countries – Afghanistan, Botswana, Cambodia, Mongolia, Kenya, Malawi, Liberia, Ghana, and Mozambique, are taking part in the training, scheduled to go on till November 30.

The training seeks to provide an understanding of new trends, approaches and procedures in marketing fruits and vegetables so that producers and businesses in Asia and Africa can participate in global markets and make use of emerging opportunities to increase their income. Speaking at the event, ambassador Verma emphasized the commitment of US and India to work together to alleviate poverty and hunger.

"The NIAM session will teach participants the latest global trends in fruit and vegetable marketing, food safety and quality requirements, and the use of technology as an enabling force. 

Collectively, these strategies have the potential to create an environment conducive for investments and entrepreneurial development," he said. Irina Garg, director general, NIAM, said that even today a large number of people across nations were either undernourished or malnourished. It's therefore imperative that this problem is addressed.

The commitment of US to this programme is historical and comes from its philosophy enshrined in the Declaration of Independence wherein `life, liberty and pursuit of happiness' have been recognized as inalienable rights of mankind, Garg added.

V Usha Rani, director general, National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), said it was indeed a challenge to feed the growing population of the country. However, India's performance in this arena was quite commendable. To compete in the international market, it is also necessary to address the challenges in food processing and storage along with food production, she said.