Call to enhance nutrition security

Kathmandu, September 20

Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Amjad Hussain B Sial today said food and nutrition security and agriculture constituted a key component of cooperation under the framework of SAARC.

Addressing the Inaugural Session of the International Conference on Doubling the Income of Farmers of SAARC Countries here today, he said, “Although our region is endowed with abundant human and natural resources and agriculture continues to be the mainstay of the South Asian economies, the agricultural sector encounters massive challenges, which include increasing population, shrinking arable lands and farm sizes, rapid urbanisation, impact of climate change, natural disasters, post-harvest losses and animal diseases, among others.”

Co-organised by Nepal Agricultural Extension Association, Nepal Agriculture Information and Training Centre and International Society of Extension Education, the four-day conference has brought together representatives from member states of SAARC to exchange views on agricultural extension strategies and approaches.

In addition, a large number of professionals and experts from several regional and international organisations are attending the conference.

Sial said much of the agricultural production in the region is undertaken by smallholders. “In the context of diminishing farm sizes and other existing challenges, appropriate approaches and strategies for sustainable agriculture can play an instrumental role in enhancing the income of farmers as well as in achieving food security, improving nutrition, developing value chain and eventually contributing to poverty alleviation and ending hunger,” he suggested.

Since the inception of SAARC in 1985, the leaders have underscored the importance of agriculture in the context of overall developmental goals of the region. The ‘SAARC Agriculture Vision 2020’ shows the way forward for enhanced regional engagement in the field of agriculture and related sectors.