Indian Council of Agricultural Research
Opening Statement of Hon’ble Agriculture Minister on the occasion of 7th ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations)-India Agriculture Minister Meeting for Agriculture & Forestry (AIMMAF) on 26th October, 2022
Hon’ble Agriculture Ministers, Ladies & Gentlemen
1. On behalf of the Government of India and my fellow countrymen, I welcome you all in the 7th meeting of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)-India Agriculture Ministers hosted by India. This 7th ASEAN-India Agriculture Ministers meeting is being held at a very crucial time when we are confronted with many serious challenges in agriculture in the region as well as globally.
2. India has always been keen to working closely with ASEAN. I am confident that we can realize the full potential of our partnership in bringing greater peace, progress and prosperity to the people of the region
3. India places ASEAN at the core of India’s Act East Policy. During the 18th India-ASEAN Summit held on 28th October, 2021, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India highlighted the milestone of 30th anniversary of India-ASEAN Partnership and the Year 2022 was announced as India-ASEAN Friendship Year. Hon’ble Prime Minister underlined the centrality of ASEAN in India's Act East Policy. Building upon the synergies between the ASEAN Outlook for the Indo-Pacific and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and ASEAN leaders welcomed the adoption of the India-ASEAN Joint Statement on cooperation for peace, stability. We look forward to a closer cross-sectoral collaboration with ASEAN for the development of agriculture and poverty eradication, among others, to ensure sustainable and inclusive development in the region.
4. India’s major focus has been on ensuring adequate food and nutrition at affordable price. Agriculture is particularly important in the context of our region as majority of our population is still dependent upon it to for their livelihood. India has made great strides in the field of agriculture and allied sector. India’s success in achieving food security after green revolution is well known. Our agricultural scientists have developed about 5900 varieties including 1752 climate resilient varieties and 87 biofortified varieties. The subsequent white revolution made India the largest producer of milk globally. Recently, we have done very well in horticulture and fisheries and achieved pulses revolution as well. Our efforts in boosting organic farming and natural farming are noticeable.
5. Agriculture is equally important for the Member States of ASEAN, as for India. ASEAN and India are facing common challenges of climate change, depleting land and water resources, shortage of labour, and increasing costs of inputs and volatility of the markets. Diversification towards higher value crops and livestock can improve farm incomes and reduce stress on the natural resources. Transboundary diseases are yet another important area which requires urgent focus and collaborative efforts.
6. The India-ASEAN partnership has grown since 1992 when India became a Sectoral Partner of the ASEAN. Since 2011, ASEAN-India Working Group on Agriculture is involved for exchanging our views. The ASEAN-India Agriculture Ministers have already met 6 times before this meeting. I am happy to note that the plan of action for 2021-2025 was adopted in the last meeting of ASEAN-India Agriculture Ministers. This plan includes fellowship for higher education in agriculture announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, exchange visits for farmers, climate-smart agriculture, application of robotics and drones in agriculture, post-harvest technology, transboundary diseases and plant health management. Let’s make efforts for their early realization.
7. We firmly believe that the food systems are highly integrated and the forces driving them are constantly shifting. India recognizes that widespread adoption of technology through digital platforms offers solutions to such challenges to increase the farm efficiency and production. Digital technology is key to eliminating the problems of information asymmetries. India shall be happy to offer its expertise to ASEAN in the field of varieties and seed system development, micro-irrigation, digital agriculture, good agricultural practices, nature-positive agriculture, farmers producer organizations, animal vaccine & diagnostics, post-harvest loss management and agri-food value chain development.
8. I would like to state that the year 2023 has been declared as the International Year of Millets by the United Nations on the proposal of India. We shall be promoting millets and millets products for health and nutrition of the people. Millets are nutritious, less resource-intensive and help creating more resilient agri-food systems. I would like to urge excellencies to join the India’s initiative to promote the production, processing, value addition and consumption of millets. I conclude by reiterating the significance of our With our collective and sincere efforts, we can achieve far greater outcomes of our cooperation.
9. I thank you for your kind attention.