SAARC Agriculture Vision 2020 drafted

Kathmandu, November 6:

The conference of agriculture ministers from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has finalised SAARC Agriculture Vision 2020.

The vision document aims at addressing challenges faced by the agriculture sector of the SAARC region and harnessing diverse available opportunities through collective

efforts, according to a press statement.

The meeting also adopted two declarations - ‘SAARC Declaration on Food Security’ and ‘SAARC Declaration on UG99’. The UG 99 is a potential threat to wheat crop in the region.

The 15th SAARC Summit held in Colombo this August had adopted the Colombo Statement on Food Security in view of the looming global food crisis. It had identified six thematic areas, which include issues like increase in food production, investments in agro industries, R&D agricultural technologies, procurement and distribution and management of risk.

Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta led the Nepali delegation to the meeting of SAARC Agriculture Ministers that was held in New Delhi.

Food Bank

NEW DELHI: Despite banning wheat exports, India will contribute 1,53,000 tonnes of wheat to set up a food bank for tackling crisis in certain SAARC countries, the Indian government announced on Wednesday. “We have kept two million tonnes of wheat for some countries that have made a request for the grain to our external affairs ministry through diplomatic channels,” Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said during a business summit. The empowered group of ministers on food, headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, has approved the decision, Pawar added. The external affairs ministry will decide the timing and quantity of wheat to be supplied to these countries. The proposed food bank will have an initial capacity of 243,000 tonnes. — HNS