The Coordinating Centre of the BRICS Agricultural Research Platform was inaugurated by Dr. T. Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & Director General, ICAR, at NASC Complex, New Delhi as a follow up of the Memorandum of Understanding signed during the 8th BRICS Summit -2016 in India, by the Ministries of Agriculture of Brazil, Russian Federation, Republic of India, Peoples Republic of China and Republic of South Africa. This is the first such multi-disciplinary and multi-lateral Platform established in Indian agriculture which has five big countries participating through virtual network for agricultural development and growth.
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi envisioned great scope of agricultural growth through collaborative efforts among BRICS countries and stated during the 7th BRICS Summit on 9th July, 2015 at Ufa in Russia, as follows- “We are quite strong and well equipped in the field of agriculture and we are also at the top position in many fields across the world. I would like to propose to establish BRICS Agriculture Research Centre which will be a gift to the entire world. In a similar way, we can work on creating a system wherein we can invest in augmenting production and infrastructure in agriculturally rich or land rich countries. We can send the extra production to less productive countries. This will be a significant next step”.
Through the process of two consultations of experts from BRICS member countries held in India, followed by approval by the Ministers of Agriculture and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at the 8th BRICS Summit- 2016 at Goa, India, all BRICS countries agreed to establish a BRICS Agricultural Research Platform (BRICS-ARP) in virtual mode. They noted and emphasized its importance for ensuring food security, eliminating hunger and poverty through increased agricultural production, productivity and sustainable management of natural resources. Today’s programme was graced by H.E. the Ambassador of Brazil in India, Counsellor from Russian Embassy in New Delhi, Heads of CGIAR Centres, Past President of NAAS and senior colleagues from the Department of Agricultural Research and Education of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
Sri C. Roul, Additional Secretary (DARE) and Secretary, ICAR extended a warm welcome to all participants and briefly mentioned about the process of signing of MoU and the subsequent progress. Dr. Mohapatra mentioned that BRICS countries are major producers, consumers and exporters of agricultural, horticultural and animal products. They have the strength of knowledge, expertise and research capabilities in agriculture and already, India is having bilateral collaboration with them. He hoped that the BRICS-ARP will facilitate multilateral interaction for knowledge sharing and gaining of overall experience and exposure to the latest research, technology, policy, innovations, extension and technology transfer, training and capacity building. This will help in addressing various challenges encountered in the sector such as more food for ever increasing population, increasing the efficiency of use of inputs in agriculture, growing food in the changing climate, sustainable utilization of resources, managing new pests, pathogen and invasive plants, promoting value addition for producing safe and nutritive food and food products, avoiding wastage and knowledge sharing among BRICS countries. He further mentioned about the governance and functioning of the BRICS- ARP . H.E the Ambassador of Brazil extended appreciation of India for leadership in Agriculture. He mentioned that there were challenges ahead which can be worked out through the collective wisdom, technology and experiences through a forum like BRICS- ARP. Subsequently, the Counsellor from Russian Embassy, Past President of NAAS, Heads of CGIAR Centres namely, ICRISAT, Bioversity International, ILRI, IFPRI, IWMI, ICRAF and the CABI, and senior officers of ICAR presented their view points and provided valuable suggestions for BRICS-ARP.