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India seeks IFAD's cooperation in Indian agriculture

india Updated: Nov 24, 2009 18:05 IST
Kumkum Chadha
Kumkum Chadha
Hindustan Times
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Taking a cue from Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President Kanayo F Nwanze, indicated the possibility of the UN agency's intervention in the diary and fisheries sector.

In a meeting with Nwanze had with the Union Agriculture minister here this morning, Pawar had underlined the importance of the dairies and fisheries sector in Indian agriculture. The minister is believed to have sought IFAD's cooperation in these two vital sectors: "IFAD is willing. The Agriculture minister's keenness to carry the partnership forward will help boost our commitment and participation in India. Having said that I must clarify that our support is dependant on the government's commitment to fight poverty" said Mattia P Galletti, IFAD's country programme manager for India.

IFAD, an international financial institution, working with the poor, rural people. It is an enabling agency to increase incomes and help rural poor determine their lives. India receives more funding from IFAD than any other country in the world. IFAD has, in the past, funded projects for rural and tribal development, women's empowerment, natural resources management and rural finance.

Nwanze is on a 10-day trip to India: his first since taking over as IFAD President.

Whether the India visit is one which is more sentimental than professional is hard to say given that Nwanze, within hours of his election as IFAD President, had told HT early this year that he would visit India sooner than later. Nwanze was elected President of the high profile financial institution in February this year: "It is a promise that I made and have kept" Nwanze told HT in an exclusive interaction here.

Though this is Nwanze's first visit to India as IFAD chief, his relationship goes back a long way. He has lived and worked here for several years in the development field: "I have" he told HT "an emotional bond with India. For me it was a training ground and learning experience. I must confess that coming back is nostalgic given that I spent 10 years of my professional life in India". As IFAD's President, Nwanze is determined to showcase the agency's success stories in the Indian states in the north-east to other developing nations the world over: "It is clear that India has made progress in its fight against poverty. I want to the government of India to focus on women's empowerment and in my discussions with the relevant people will make a fervent pitch for this" Nwanze wants to use the India example to demonstrate that each country must invest in its poor people and demonstrate that investments have been put to good use and helped reduce poverty: "The challenge is not about the number of projects which are being run or the amount of money spent on them. The issue is whether any of this has touched and transformed the lives of the rural poor, Nwanze had told HT.

A few weeks earlier Nwanze had given a wake- up call to African governments to put their house in order amid criticism that he was singling out African countries irrespective of the dismal track record of developing countries investments in agriculture: "We have to continue to push them to raise the bar. All of us have a responsibility to send the message loud and clear and I for one will continue to do so. People tend to relax" Nwanze said.

With less than a year over in his four year term as President, Nwanze seems all geared up to take the bull by its horns.