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Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare calls upon SAARC nations to work together for the welfare of farmers

7th April 2016, Dhaka, Bangladesh

The third meeting of SAARC agriculture ministers concluded here today.  The meet was inaugurated by Sheikh Hasina, Hon'ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The Prime Minister in her inaugural speech said that ensuring food security is a multi-faceted and complex issue that is closely related to agriculture. She expressed the hope that ministers and experts attending the conference would formulate recommendations that would help eradicate poverty from this region. She called upon the SAARC nations to work together for building a poverty and hunger-free peaceful prosperous South Asia.

Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare thanked Bangladesh for hosting the meet. Previous meeting of the SAARC Agriculture ministers' was held 7 years ago in 2008 in New Delhi. He proposed that the meeting should be held more frequently, may be once in a year or two years. He further said the governments of SAARC countries are keen on improving the economic and social statures of their agricultural sectors. The farmers are fighting against economic disparity and instability. He further said that it will be appropriate to initiate stable research and development work in the agricultural sector through mutual cooperation. The SAARC countries can help each other to strengthen farmers, improve their livelihood and fight the climate change and imbalanced environment.

The third meeting of SAARC agriculture ministersThe third meeting of SAARC agriculture ministersThe third meeting of SAARC agriculture ministersThe third meeting of SAARC agriculture ministers

He further said a better communication network must be formulated to provide information to farmers on agricultural techniques, products, methods and related services. "It is must to invest in agricultural research for security of foodgrains in future," he added.

Agriculture Ministers of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan participated in the meeting along with representatives of Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

Union Agriculture Minister held meetings with Agriculture Ministers of Bangladesh and Nepal, on the sidelines of SAARC Meet. He discussed prospects of salt tolerant rice varieties, high temperature tolerant rice varieties, seed bank with Bangladesh AM and in meeting with Nepal AM assistance in strengthening of higher agricultural education and research in Nepal (deemed university) and addition of two more quarantine centers, were discussed.

 

12 point resolution under the Dhaka Statement was released after the deliberations.

Snippets

  • SAARC Agricultural Ministers' meeting was held in the year 2008 at New Delhi. 
  • SAARC Agriculture Vision 2020 was adopted in the New Delhi meeting in 2008. 
  • Since 2008, India has conducted maximum number (26) of consultation meetings, workshops and trainings followed by Bangladesh.  Two of the requests, one for training on Buffalo Farm Management practices at CIRB at Hisar and one on Animal Reproduction Biotechnology at NDRI recommended from SAARC Agriculture centre, Dhaka will be acceded and the needful will be done in 2016.
  • India has given a voluntary contribution of US$ 100.00 million for social window of SAARC Development Fund (SDF) for implementation of programmes and projects that include Agriculture. 
  • SAARC seed bank is an excellent idea.  Regional Framework for Material transfer agreement is highly relevant for success of the seed bank operation.  This agreement must uniform to the existing International Treaties/ National Laws.  Mechanisms within the ambit of National Laws needs to be developed for Material Transfer.
  • Establishment of SAARC Food Bank is another novel concept. Operationalization of this Bank needs a thorough study that would examine all aspects including mapping of food demand and supply situation in all member countries.  The proposed support of UNESCAP to conduct the study is praiseworthy.