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U.S. Targets Hunger

The United States and India are expanding science and technology cooperation with the goal of reducing poverty and hunger. Ellen Terpstra, U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture, says the U.S.-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative will help India's farmers by improving such things as food processing and water management. It will also help universities in India develop extension services to help farmers develop better crops at less cost.

An important part of the initiative is the Norman Borlaug International Science and Technology Fellowship program. This program brings research scientists and policy makers from developing nations to the United States for short-term scientific training. The purpose of the training is to help scientists, farmers, and agriculture officials adopt new farm technologies and methods of dealing with such challenges as drought and crop disease.

The fellowship is named for the American scientist and Nobel laureate known as the "father of the Green Revolution." His development of high-yield wheat varieties helped reverse severe food shortages in India and Pakistan in the 1960s, saving millions of people from starvation.

Today, with a population of over one-billion, India has the world's twelfth largest economy – and the third largest in Asia. Nearly two-thirds of the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood. Agriculture accounts for twenty-one percent of the gross national product.

This year the U.S. will train about one hundred Borlaug fellows from twenty nations. Fifteen are Indians. Ms. Terpstra says she hopes the India fellows "become inspired and return home with the goal of making a difference in the quality, safety, and availability of food."

"Research, education and international partnership all come together in this program," says U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns. "I am confident," says Mr. Johanns, "that these fellows will help carry on the fight against hunger with great passion."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.