Mumbai, India – The United States Government through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Foreign Agricultural Service and the Maharashtra Department of Agriculture signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will ensure better food security for Maharashtra and give Maharashtra’s farmers access to cutting-edge data from anywhere in the state.
U.S. Consul General David J. Ranz, and Government of Maharashtra (GoM) Agriculture Secretary Eknath Davle publicly signed a joint statement today at the Mantralaya-the State government’s administrative headquarters–expressing their support for the MoU. The joint statement was signed in the presence of GoM Agriculture Minister Hon. Dadaji Dagdu Bhuse,
The MOU will provide a framework for technical cooperation between the USDA and Maharashtra’s Department of Agriculture in the development of robust agricultural market information systems, along with potential collaboration in other areas. Through this MOU, USDA will aid Maharashtra’s efforts to support farmers by enhancing agricultural value chains, facilitating agribusiness investment, and developing resilient agricultural production systems through its Hon. Balashaeb Thackeray Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART) Project, supported by the World Bank.
On this occasion, Agriculture Minister Dadaji Dagdu Bhuse said, “Government of Maharashtra under the visionary leadership of Chief Minister, Hon. Uddhavji Thackeray, taking many initiatives for welfare of farmers in the State. The campaign ‘Vikel te Pikel’-‘Produce that can be sold’ is being implemented in the State for assured market for farmer’s produce. As part of that, World Bank project Hon. Balashaeb Thackeray Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART) Project is implemented in the State with the help of World Bank. The USD 300 million SMART project is to support the development of inclusive and competitive agri-business value chains with a focus on small holder farmers. As a part of SMART project, Department of Agriculture with the help of USDA will increase the capacity of State machinery in the field of agriculture statistics, agricultural marketing, market intelligence, organizing commodity stewardship council etc.”
U.S. Consul General David J. Ranz, said, “This MOU represents the most ambitious bilateral capacity-building effort between the USDA and an Indian government entity to date. Maharashtra is an agricultural powerhouse, as is the United States, and we play an important role ensuring global food security, as well as meeting growing demand for fiber and fuel. This MOU demonstrates our commitment to enhancing farmer welfare and making our agricultural production systems more efficient and sustainable through the sharing of best practices and skills.”
Other dignitaries present at the event included Mr. Dheeraj Kumar, Commissioner Agriculture, Mr. Lazaro Sandoval, FAS Attaché, Mr. Sushil Khodwekar, Dy. Secretary (Agriculture), GoM, Mr. Dasharath Tambhale, Additional Project Director, SMART, Mr. Shrikant Andge, Under Secretary, (Agriculture), GoM and other officials from the U.S. Consulate General and Department of Agriculture, GoM.
The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in an agency of the U.S. Government that links U.S. agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities and global food security. For over 20 years, FAS has worked in India by training Indian officials and agricultural professionals through its Cochran and Borlaug Fellowship Programs.