Meeting of ICARDA-South Asia and China Regional Program

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Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh participated in 5th Regional Coordination meeting of ICARDA’s South Asia & China Regional Program on “Strategic Partnership towards enhancing Food and Nutritional Security in South Asia & China”.

The Representatives from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, Egypt, India, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sudan participated in this meeting where South-South cooperation in agricultural research for development was discussed.

It was organised at NASC Complex, Pusa, New Delhi. The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) is a global research-for-development organization.

The International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), a member of the CGIAR, supported by the CGIAR Fund, is a non-profit agricultural research for development institute that aims to improve the livelihoods of the resource-poor across the world’s dry areas. Support is provided by research centers and offices in Jordan, Morocco, Ethiopia, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Afghanistan, India, Iran, Oman, Pakistan, Sudan, Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Established in 1977, ICARDA’s origins lie in a 1973 study that highlighted the food security challenges faced by countries across the dry regions of the Near East and North Africa. ICARDA research activities include the development of new crop varieties, water harvesting, conservation agriculture, the diversification of production systems, integrated crop/rangeland/livestock production systems, and the empowerment of rural women.

India has taken up the initiative for the establishment of 150 Seed Hubs for pulses, ensuring timely availability of sufficient quantity of quality seeds. The establishment of seed hubs for other crops is also being undertaken.

Indian approach to partnership with African nations in agriculture is driven by the aim of South-South Cooperation through research for development, capacity building, access to Indian market, and support to Indian investments in agriculture in Africa.

ICARDA has considerable experience of working closely with most African countries to deliver science-led technologies for the benefit of farmers, and can act as a catalyst in this endeavor under an India-Africa-ICARDA initiative.

Some coordinating centres like the National Food Security Mission (NFSM), National Horticulture Mission (NHM) and National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) are being implemented to ensure food and nutritional security in the country.

India envisages ICARDA’s Food Legume Research Platform (FLRP) under this domain as well. India and ICARDA have had a long-standing collaboration in the field of agricultural research and development, which has only strengthened significantly over the years.

At present ICARDA collaborates with 8 ICAR institutions and 15 State Agricultural Universities, and has introduced several thousand landraces, wild species and newly developed breeding lines to India of the its mandated crops, and shared with its partners. Shri Singh further informed that India remains one of the biggest global importers of ICARDA germplasm for research.

This year, India-ICARDA collaboration peaked another level when the Union Cabinet of India approved granting an international status under the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947, to ICARDA in India, and supported the establishment of Satellite Hubs in West Bengal (exclusively for pulses) and Rajasthan (for NRM research on forages including spineless cactus, management of rangelands and silvi-pasture, developing models for improving crop-water productivity and conservation agriculture).

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