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Statement by India at the 4th SAARC Agriculture...
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Statement by India at the 4th SAARC Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting on 27 June, 2019

Excellencies,

On behalf of the Government of India and on behalf of my fellow countrymen, I convey our warm greetings on the occasion of the 4th Meeting of SAARC Agriculture Ministers and also congratulate as well as thank the Royal Government of Bhutan for so splendidly hosting this significant event.  

2.  Food security and eradication of hunger is a key development challenge in South Asia, which accounts for nearly two thirds of the world’s undernourished people. According to a UNESCAP study, doubling agricultural productivity in South Asia could increase food security and lead to increases of up to 16% in GDP, 14% rise in exports, and 11% in household incomes. Enhancing agricultural productivity could lift 16 million additional people out of poverty and create nearly 13 million additional jobs, relative to a baseline of usual. The prospects are promising and we are hopeful that the recommendations of this very topical meeting will set the future road map for robust agricultural cooperation in South Asia with the objective of eradicating hunger and malnutrition in our region.

3.  Agriculture and food security remain among the prime areas of focus of the Government of India with the key objective of ensuring food and nutrition security at affordable price in an eco-friendly environment. Agriculture is particularly important in the context of our region as the majority of our population is still dependent upon it to earn their livelihood. Growth in Agriculture also plays a pivotal role in supplying raw material to our booming manufacturing sector. The Agriculture sector in India provides employment to more than 58% for rural people/youth as their principle means of livelihood besides providing entrepreneurship opportunity. India has made great strides in the field of agriculture and allied sectors. During the past decades, India has experienced the Green Revolution and the White Revolution which has paved the way for self-sufficiency in food and milk production. Moving beyond mere self-sufficiency in food and milk, we have also done very well in horticulture, fisheries and pulse production, and are working towards improving post-harvest management and development of cold chain infrastructure, thanks to our National Agriculture Research System led by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR).

4.  The Government of India is committed in its endeavour to boost agricultural growth, explore new horizons and stride fast in agricultural research to make Indian agriculture productive, profitable and prestigious to our farming communities, as we envision doubling of farmers’ income by 2022 and enable the country to adequately address sustainable food and nutritional security. Our programmes and policies are targeted to develop agricultural technologies and package of practices ensuring food and nutritional security to all our fellow citizens and to ensure livelihood security among the farming community. Our areas of priority for the agriculture sector include, 'more crop per drop', safeguarding soil-health, promotion of mechanization of small farms, increase pulses and oilseeds production and integrating horticulture, dairy, poultry and fisheries enterprises with strong 'Lab-to-Land' focus and ICT linkages besides building infrastructure, minimising risks and creating better marketing opportunities. The government has also taken several steps to usher in Second Green Revolution in the country with eastern India focus. The efforts are also being directed towards organic farming and sustainable utilisation of the soil, land and water resources and also towards making agriculture more climate resilient.  

5.   Further, we should work together and share appropriate and reliable technologies in the agriculture sector in order to make nations of the South Asian region food secure. While doing so, we should also be vigilant and share information on trans-boundary issues including plant and animal diseases to protect our food safety-nets.

6.   The interest of the Government of India to accelerate agricultural growth & productivity is firm. India always stands ready to assist and increase cooperation in the critical area of agriculture and allied sectors in our region.

7.   Once again, my thanks to the RGoB in convening this meeting. And wishing you much success as you assume the Chair.

Thank you.

 

 
 
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