Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday said BRICS nations are capable of playing a leading role in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of eradicating hunger and poverty. Tomar, who chaired the 11th Meeting of BRICS Agriculture Ministers virtually, shared efforts taken by India in preserving the agro-biodiversity and for promoting diversification of the agri-food system.
BRICS comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. He said the BRICS Agricultural Research Platform has been created to promote cooperation in agricultural research and innovations, and its implementation has been started.
In his opening remark, Tomar said, "BRICS countries are well-positioned to take a leading role in helping to achieve the objectives of the 2030 SDGs (sustainable development goals) to eradicate hunger and poverty." and increasing the income of farmers, the problem of income inequality and food price volatility can be overcome, he added. To preserve agro-biodiversity, the minister said India has set up national gene banks for plants, animals, fish, insects and agriculturally important microorganisms, an official statement said.
Programmes on pulses, oilseeds, horticultural crops, and the recently launched National Palm Oil Mission are implemented to promote diversification of agri-food systems, he added. Tomar further said India is focusing on capacity building in research, teaching, policy making, trade and farming of nutritious cereals, which will benefit the farmers while conserving the diversity available in this group of crops.
In the meeting, agriculture ministers of BRICS nations acknowledged the strong agricultural research base in the member countries. They also acknowledged the need to harness and share knowledge, facilitate the transfer of technologies from lab to land to provide improved solutions for enhanced productivity, especially in the face of climate change. They stressed the need to maintain agrobiodiversity and ensure sustainable use of natural resources.
On BRICS Agriculture Research Platform developed by India, Tomar said this will promote cooperation in the areas of agricultural research, extension, technology transfer, training and capacity building. After the meeting, a joint declaration and the Action Plan for 2021-24 for agricultural cooperation of BRICS countries and BRICS Agriculture Research Platform were adopted.
The Action Plan for 2021-24 provides for enhanced cooperation in agriculture among BRICS nations and focuses on the themes of food security, welfare of farmers, and conservation of agrobiodiversity, among others. 'Conservation and promotion of agrobiodiversity for nutrition and sustainability' was proposed as a focus area for collaboration in the Action Plan 2021-2024.
Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary, Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal, and other senior officials attended the virtual meeting.