U.S. and India to help African food security

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Monday announced a U.S.-Indian partnership to promote food security in Africa, harnessing technology to battle starvation in a part of the world where China has boosted its presence.

“We are going to share Indian expertise with farmers in Africa,” Obama said in a speech to India’s parliament.

The project will link U.S., Indian and African universities to spread knowledge and boost innovation, while deploying technology to improve drought-resistant farming.

“This is an indication of India’s rise — that we can now export hard-earned expertise to countries that see India as a model for agricultural development,” said Obama, in a speech that capped his first visit to the country as president.

The initiative was among several U.S.-Indian partnerships announced by the president during his address to parliament, including collaboration over weather forecasting to provide earlier monsoon warnings for Indian farmers.

Obama also pledged to “resist protectionism” and to keep working with India to find an agreement over agricultural tariffs that are complicating efforts to finalize the Doha round of global trade talks.

India says it needs to maintains tariffs to protect its hundreds of millions of subsistence farmers, while the United States argues it needs to provide at least some market opening as part of a Doha deal.

“We can keep striving for a Doha Round that is ambitious and is balanced — with the courage to make the compromises that are necessary so global trade works for all economies,” Obama told Indian lawmakers.

(Reporting by Alister Bull, additional reporting by Doug Palmer in Washington, editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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