Pres. Obama, Indian PM Singh Announce Partnership To Improve Global Food Security

During a joint press conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday, President Barack Obama announced a new partnership between U.S. and Indian agriculture sectors to help improve food security globally, Press Trust International/ reports (11/8). India is the first stop on Obama’s 10-day Asia-Pacific tour that began on Saturday, IST/Reuters/Economic Times reports (11/7).

According to a White House release, posted on the Wall Street Journal’s “India Real Time” blog, Obama and Singh “agreed to work together to develop, test, and replicate transformative technologies to extend food security in India as part of an ‘Evergreen Revolution.'” The release continues, “These efforts build on the historic legacy of cooperation between the United States and India during the Green Revolution, and will benefit farmers and consumers in India, the United States, and around the globe, and will extend food security in India, Africa and globally” (11/8).

“‘India probably has the most dynamic, innovative public partnership-orientated approach to agriculture in terms of the incorporation of technology,’ USAID Administrator Raj Shah told Reuters in an interview,” IST/Reuters/Economic Times writes. “We see great potential in bringing a lot of that technology, know-how, expertise and commitment to improving small-holder agriculture to sub-Saharan Africa,” Shah said, according to the news service (11/7).

“The Partnership for an Evergreen Revolution will contribute to achieving the objectives of the U.S. global development policy, which places a premium on broad-based economic growth as the foundation for sustainable development, and the bilateral U.S. Feed the Future Initiative, which focuses on creating a foundation for sustainable economic growth by helping countries accelerate inclusive agriculture sector growth through improved agricultural productivity, expanded markets and trade, and increased economic resilience in vulnerable rural communities,” the White House press release states (11/8).

“To promote global health we’re moving ahead with a new disease detection center here in New Delhi,” Obama stated during the press conference, according to a White House transcript of the event, in a separate post on the Wall Street Journal’s “India Real Time” blog. “Building on our successful efforts to expand educational exchanges, including our Singh-Obama 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, we’ll convene a summit to forge new collaborations in higher education,” Obama said (11/8).

Bloomberg Reports On The Effects Of Diabetes On Populations Living In India

Bloomberg examines the growing number of people living in India who have diabetes and the effects the disease is having on the country: “India’s medical system is sagging under the pressure. The country, still grappling with malaria, polio and leprosy – diseases that have been eradicated in developed countries – is fighting a wave of diabetes-related ailments.”

“The International Diabetes Federation in October 2009 ranked India as the country with the most diabetics worldwide,” according to the news service, which notes the group also “estimates that the disease will kill about 1 million Indians this year, more than in any other country.” The article examines how people living in India appear more vulnerable to diabetes and how the disease tends to afflict “India’s population at an average age of 42.5 years – about a decade earlier than it strikes people of European origin … hobbling a population of money-earners and parents during their primes.”

The piece notes the economic toll of the diabetes in India, the potential for chronic diseases to limit growth in the country and the effects the rise in chronic diseases in the country is having on India’s medical system, which the article notes is facing a health worker shortage. “Diabetes, stroke and other non-communicable diseases deprive India of more than $23 billion a year in income,” according to Bloomberg. “The $1.3 trillion economy would be 4 percent to 10 percent greater if those diseases were eliminated, the World Bank concluded in January. Such ailments undermine efforts to increase India’s life expectancy beyond 64, which is a decade below China’s,” the news service adds.

“Non-communicable diseases are no longer diseases of the rich, diseases of affluence,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said, according to Bloomberg. The article includes additional comments from health experts specializing in diabetes and chronic diseases, as well as an Indian woman living with diabetes (Gale, 11/7).

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