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ASEAN-India strengthen cooperation in agriculture and forestry

On October 26, 2022, the 7th ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting (AIMMAF) on Agriculture and Forestry was held virtually. The Meeting was co-chaired by Dr Phet Phomphiphak, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Lao PDR and Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare of India. Agriculture Ministers of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam also participated in the meeting.

Narendra Singh Tomar, in his opening remarks during the meeting, reiterated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of keeping ASEAN at the center of India’s Act East Policy. He also emphasised the mutually close regional cooperation with ASEAN to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth for agricultural development in the region. Referring to the importance of millet (nutritional-cereals) as a nutritious food and the international nutritional-cereal year 2023, The Indian Minister urged the ASEAN member countries to support the efforts of India in increasing the production, processing, value addition and consumption of millets. He also said that India will promote nutritious cereal products for the health and nutrition of the people. Nutritious cereals help in the creation of nutritious, with low resource requirements and more efficient agri-food systems.

The Meeting reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring ASEAN-India cooperation in agriculture and forestry, which substantially contributes to deepening the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership and supports the ASEAN Community building efforts. The Meeting noted the significant progress in the implementation of the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership, through the implementation of various programmes and activities across the three ASEAN Community pillars, based on the current Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2021-2025). One of the important areas of cooperation in the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2021-2025) is food, agriculture and forestry. In this respect, the Plan of Action commits to promote networking and cooperation between government authorities concerned, together with agriculture and food experts, scientists and laboratories, and agriculture and food-related academic institutions, farmers including farmers’ organisations and communities, and traders of ASEAN and India. The Plan of Action also commits to promoting investment, capacity building, research and development, technology and innovation, sustainable management, and sharing of information, experience and best practices in the food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors as well as in coastal management.

ASEAN and India reiterated their commitment to continue efforts to implement post-pandemic recovery measures to address the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring the unimpeded flow of safe and nutritious agricultural produce in the ASEAN and India region.

The Meeting also noted the progress made in the implementation of the Medium-Term Plan of Action for ASEAN-India Cooperation in Agriculture and Forestry (2021-2025), namely: i) outlining priorities and measures to deepen the cooperation in agriculture and forestry, particularly the priority projects relating to the ASEAN-India fellowship for higher education in agriculture, ii) exchange visits for farmers in ASEAN and India, iii) climate-smart agriculture, iv) application of robotics and drones in agriculture production and electromagnetic waves in food processing, v) promotion of post- harvest technology for fruits and vegetables, and vi) transboundary diseases and health management in agriculture.

The Meeting also agreed to further strengthen and deepen collaboration in the priority areas to address climate change, sustainable agriculture, conservation and nature positive agriculture, climate resilient agriculture, and sustainable soil management to ensure the sustainability of the agro-ecological system. In this regard, the Meeting welcomed the initiative on the Centrality of Soil in Agriculture and Environment to support the ASEAN Member States (AMS) in reducing the over-fertilization of agriculture through the improvement of soil health and the implementation of smart farming (e.g. soil health card).

Photo Credit : https://twitter.com/PIB_India/status/1585253451055124480/photo/1


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