Could you live on $1.25 per day? In parts of India — specifically the less developed states of the Indo-Gangetic Plains — living on less than $1.25 per day per capita is a harsh reality. People in this region face problems of hunger, poverty and child malnutrition.

According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), agricultural development is a proven engine of growth that reduces global hunger and poverty. That is why Cornell University, in partnership with the University of Illinois College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES); the University of Georgia; Ohio State University; Tuskegee University; the University of California-Davis; John Deere; Tata Chemicals Ltd.; and Sathguru Management Consultants, have been awarded a $9.6 million grant from USAID to undertake a five-year project working with Banaras Hindu University (BHU) to increase agricultural production and food security in northern India.

The Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP) is being launched by India and USAID under “Feed the Future,” the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

Schuyler Korban, director of ACES Office of International Programs, said, “We are pleased that this AIP project has been selected for funding by USAID-India, as the U of I has had a long history of capacity building in agricultural higher education in India. India is among the fastest-growing economies in the world. We are eager to work with our AIP consortium partners to help the agricultural sector in India where food and agriculture are critical for the well-being of all citizens of this highly populated country.”

Gary Robbins, USAID-India Director of Food Security, said that AIP is part of President Obama’s initiative to end global hunger and poverty.