Enhancing Asean-India cooperation in agriculture, forestry

by Danial Norjidi

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN) - The 4th Asean-India Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AIMMAF) was held in New Delhi, India on January 12.

The meeting was co-chaired by Grisada Boonrach, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand and Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.

According to a joint press statement, Dato Paduka Haji Sidek bin Ali, High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam to India also attended the meeting.

The joint press statement noted that the Asean Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry and the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare were satisfied with the progress made in the implementation of the Asean-India Plan of Action (POA) 2011-2015 to implement the Asean-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity.

"We task our senior officials for the full implementation of the POA, which would help further deepen and enhance the Asean-India cooperation in food, agriculture including animal husbandry and fisheries, and forestry as well as contribute towards the achievement of the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, and the related goals of the UN Zero Hunger Challenge," the statement said.

Under the Action Programme on ‘Promote Capacity Building, Technology Transfer, and R&D as Mutually Agreed for Global Competence in Agriculture’, four capacity building activities were implemented during 2013-2015, on (i) IT Application for Agricultural Extension (e-Extension), (ii) National seed quality control system, (iii) Organic certification for fruit and vegetables and (iv) Conventional and molecular techniques for diagnosis of trans-boundary animal diseases.

"We also noted that training on buffalo production using reproductive biotechnology was conducted. We look forward to the implementation of more capacity building programmes in 2018 on the Empowerment of Asean and Indian women through cooperatives, and managing food security and price volatility."

The ministers also supported the prioritisation of joint collaborative projects in the areas of (i) Agroforestry interventions for livelihood opportunities, (ii) Demonstration and exchange of farm implement and machinery, and (iii) Genetic improvement of parental lines and development of heterotic rice hybrids.

They noted the endorsement of the Medium Term Plan of Action for Asean India Cooperation in Agriculture and Forestry for 2016–2020 by the SOM AMAF and India.

"In this connection, we underscore the importance of addressing Climate Change as it negatively impacts food security, and look forward to cooperation on exchanging expertise as to promote enhanced resilience of natural systems, and improve the adaptive capacities of people to cope with environmental hazards."

They also said they look forward to the implementation of the 3rd Exchange Visit for Farmers between Asean and India to learn and develop more efficient farming practices and management skills through information sharing.

"We agreed to meet again at the 5th Asean-India Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry to be held in Brunei Darussalam in 2019," reads the joint press statement.

"We express our sincere appreciation to the government and people of India for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements made for the meeting."