India has signed an agreement with Argentina on conducting research in agriculture and other allied sectors, in line with its plans to tap natural and other resources in South America to boost its food security.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in agriculture and allied sectors with his Argentine counterpart Julian Andres Dominguez here this weekend.
Pawar is on a two-week long visit to Argentina, Brazil and Mexico to study the best practices in agriculture in these countries.
The South American countries have emerged as main exporters of commodities, especially to emerging markets, significantly denting the US-Europe domination in agri-business sector. They have overtaken the US in soya production, accounting for 50 percent of global production,
India this April replaced China as the biggest importer of Argentine soybean oil. Argentina is the world's largest exporter of sunflower and soybean oil; world's second largest exporter of corn; and world's third largest producer soybeans.
With large swathes of land in a sparsely populated region, which accounts for 26 percent of global freshwater reserves, South American nations have the highest yields per hectare.
"The memorandum of understanding provides a framework for exchange of information on best practices and technologies, cooperation in research and development and promotion of trade, investment and joint ventures," said an official release.
India is looking to replicate the success of Argentina in turning agriculture into a high-technology sector.
The Indian delegation led by Pawar will also explore the possibility of increasing the supply of edible oil and pulses to the subcontinent as domestic output has not been able to meet galloping demand.
A recent report of the Inter-American Development Bank said India, given its rising needs and buying power, would be a buyer of agricultural and mineral products of South America.