India urges BIMSTEC nations to work in cooperation to transform farm sector

NEW DELHI: India’s Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday urged the member countries of BIMSTEC to work together for development of a comprehensive regional strategy to strengthen cooperation for transformation of farm sector.

India hosted the second Agriculture Ministerial-level meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) here under the chairmanship of Tomar, an official statement said.

Agriculture ministers of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand participated in the meeting.

BIMSTEC was established in 1997. It includes five countries of South Asia — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and two countries of South-East Asia — Myanmar and Thailand.

Addressing the meeting virtually, Tomar urged the “member countries to cooperate in developing a comprehensive regional strategy to strengthen cooperation for the transformation of agriculture.”

He emphasised on the importance of millet as a nutritious food and highlighted the efforts made by India to promote millet and its products during the International Year of Millets – 2023.

Tomar asked the member countries to adopt a conducive agricultural food system and a healthy diet for all.

He requested participating countries to actively participate in India’s initiative to promote millet as a food.

Tomar said natural and ecological farming should be promoted to conserve agricultural biodiversity and reduce the use of chemicals.

“He emphasised the importance of cooperation in agriculture and allied sectors to ensure food security, nutrition, environmental sustainability and livelihood support, for which it is required to increase technical and economic cooperation to deal with the challenges of climate change, agro-biodiversity, microbial preventive resistance under the ‘One Health’ approach and other programmes,” the statement said.

The 2nd BIMSTEC Agriculture Ministerial meeting adopted the action plan for strengthening BIMSTEC Agricultural Cooperation (2023-2027).

An MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the BIMSTEC Secretariat and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has been signed and approval has been given to bring fisheries and livestock sub-sectors under the Agricultural Working Group.

BIMSTEC member countries appreciated India’s efforts to strengthen cooperation in agricultural research and development and for awarding six scholarships each for postgraduate and PhD programmes in agriculture.

The meeting was attended by Union Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary as well as Secretary, Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE), and Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Dr Himanshu Pathak.


Source: Press Trust of India

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