“In pursuance of the vision set forth by our leaders, we have been able to establish the SAARC Food Bank and the SAARC Seed Bank. These are significant accomplishments of SAARC,” said Amjad Hussain B. Sial, Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
He made these remarks, while addressing the Inaugural Session of the Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Agriculture Ministers in Thimphu this morning.
In his statement, the Secretary General said, “South Asia is home to around a quarter of the global population, majority of whom live in rural areas and depend on agricultural and livestock resources.”
The Secretary General said that recognizing both the inherent challenges and opportunities in agriculture, the leaders of SAARC have time and again underscored the importance of regional cooperation in agriculture, which is crucial to alleviating poverty, livelihood security, food and nutritional security and promoting sustainable and inclusive growth of the economies in the region. “The directives of our leaders culminated in the adoption of the “SAARC Agriculture Vision-2020”, which shows the way forward for enhancing regional engagement in the field of agriculture for maximizing benefits from available options, enhancing ability to face new challenges and harnessing opportunities,” he said.
“Our collaboration with regional and international organizations is progressing well. With the successful completion of several projects with their collaboration, we have now developed a regional Project on “Consortium for Scaling-up Climate Smart Agriculture in South Asia” with the help of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).”
He also said that the SAARC Development Fund, hosted by the Kingdom of Bhutan, has also been actively facilitating project-based collaboration in agriculture and rural development.
Hosted the by the Kingdom of Bhutan, the Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Agriculture Ministers was preceded by the Senior Agriculture Officials’ Meeting on 26 June, Ninth Meeting of the Technical Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on 25 June and the Third Multi-stakeholders’ Dialogue on 24 June.
At the conclusion of the Meeting, the Ministers adopted the Thimphu Statement on Agriculture and Rural Development, which identified measures for promoting food and nutritional security in the region through sustainable agricultural growth.