ASEAN nations vow to fight impact of climate change
India and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nations on Friday agreed to jointly work to mitigate the challenges of climate change, enhance livelihood opportunities through agro- forestry, exchange farm machineries and develop heterotic rice hybrids. ASEAN and India face similar challenges such as climate change, shrinking land base, dwindling water resources, shortage of farm labour, and increasing costs and uncertainties associated with volatility in national and international markets.
A joint declaration in this regard was made at the fourth ASEAN-India ministerial meeting here co- chaired by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and his Thailand counterpart Grisada Boonrach. They also called for joint efforts towards managing food security and price volatility besides implementing more capacity building programmes in 2018 on empowerment of ASEAN and Indian women through cooperatives.
Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei are the members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Speaking on the occasion, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that Agriculture is equally important for ASEAN as the majority of ASEAN countries, like India, are agrarian economies.
''Diversification towards higher value crops and livestock would be the answer which will not only improve farm incomes but also to reduce stress on the scarce natural resources,” he said.
The Minister has stressed on the need to use the current opportunities to further build upon collaborations in areas of food safety and security, agri-technology, food processing, value chains, agri-marketing and capacity building and take them to newer heights.
Expressing satisfaction over progress made so far in agri-cooperation, India and ASEAN in their joint declaration agreed to prioritise the joint projects in three key areas. They include: agroforestry interventions for livelihood opportunities, demonstration and exchange of farm implement and machinery and thirdly focus on genetic improvement of parental lines and development of heterotic rice hybrids. As part of the medium-term plan of action, they also underscored the importance of addressing the climate change challenge and its negative impact on food security.
India and ASEAN expressed satisfaction with the progress made in execution of the plan of action decided for the 2011- 2015 period and said full implementation would “help further deepen and enhance the cooperation in food, agriculture and forestry”. This would also contribute in achieving post 2015 sustainable development goals and related targets set by the UN body to achieve zero hunger. The also agreed to hold the next ASEAN-India ministerial meeting on agriculture and forestry in Brunei, Darussalam.
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