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Agri Research Platform Formed To Improve Agro-Cooperation Between BRICS Nations

BRICS brings together the world's largest rising economies, which account for 41% of the global population, contribute 24% of global GDP, and account for over 16% of global commerce.

Chintu Das

The 11th Meeting of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Agriculture Ministers was headed by Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar. Brazil, Russia, China, and South Africa's agriculture ministers met digitally to discuss the theme "BRICS Partnership for Strengthening Agro Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Security." BRICS brings together the world's largest rising economies, which account for 41% of the global population, contribute 24% of global GDP, and account for over 16% of global commerce.

Meeting Highlights:

Tomar stated in his opening remarks that the BRICS countries are well-positioned to play a leading role in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals' objectives of eradicating hunger and poverty. The problem of income disparity and food price volatility can be solved by boosting agricultural productivity and farmer income.

The Agriculture Minister emphasised India's efforts to preserve agro-biodiversity by establishing and maintaining National Gene banks for plants, animals, fish, insects, and agriculturally vital microbes at various government agencies. Through national programs such as pulses, oilseeds, horticultural crops, the National Bamboo Mission, and the recently announced National Palm Oil Mission, India is actively fostering the diversification of its agri-food systems. The goal of these projects is to boost farmers' revenue while also providing diversification on both the farm and the plate.

Shri Tomar stated that the United Nations has recognised the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets, based on India's suggestion and proposal, and that preparations are being made to commemorate the International Year of Millets on a global scale. Shri Tomar stated that India is working on increasing capacity in the areas of research, education, policy-making, commerce, and production of nutritious cereals, which will benefit farmers while preserving the incredible diversity of these crops. Shri Tomar stated that the BRICS Agricultural Research Platform was established to boost agricultural research and innovation collaboration, and that its implementation has begun today.

The importance of harnessing and sharing knowledge, facilitating the transfer of technologies from the lab to the field to provide improved solutions for increased productivity, especially in the face of climate change, maintaining agro biodiversity, and ensuring sustainable use of natural resources was recognised.

The Ministers stated their commitment to make the BRICS Agriculture Research Platform, which India built, operational and to promote research collaboration to increase the usage and implementation of agricultural technologies to satisfy the needs of farmers and processors. Agricultural research, extension, technology transfer, training, and capacity building will all be promoted through the BRICS Agriculture Research Platform (BARP).

Following the meeting, the BRICS Agriculture Ministers adopted a Joint Declaration covering a wide range of focus areas for future cooperation among the BRICS countries, as well as the BRICS Agriculture Research Platform and the Action Plan for 2021-24 for agricultural cooperation among the BRICS countries. At the senior officer level, these materials were thoroughly discussed at the BRICS Agricultural Experts Meetings and the BRICS Working Group on Agriculture.

The Ministers Conference approved the BRICS Agricultural Cooperation Action Plan for the years 2021-2024. The BRICS Action Plan 2021-2024 focuses on food security, farmer welfare, protection of agro-biodiversity, resilience of food and agricultural production systems, promotion of digital agricultural solutions, and other topics that are critical to agriculture's long-term growth.

Given the potential for the BRICS countries to work together to advance the cause of agro-biodiversity for food security and nutrition, it has been proposed that “Conservation and promotion of agro-biodiversity for nutrition and sustainability” be included as a collaborative focus area in the BRICS Action Plan 2021-2024.

Kailash Choudhary, Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & DG(ICAR),  Abhilaskha Likhi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare and Ms. Alaknanda Dayal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare attended the BRICS Agriculture Ministers' virtual meeting.

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