The Thirty-fifth Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC 35) hosted by Bhutan at its capital Thimphu, which was held from 1-4 September 2020 through Zoom video conferencing platform amid COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health concerns. The conference was chaired by Bhutan’s Secretary of the agriculture ministry, Rinzin Dorji.
- It was held to plan responses and recovery work to address the twin pandemic viz. COVID-19 and hunger. Discussions were also held regarding the state of agriculture, natural resources management, food security and nutrition.
- The conference also discussed new marketing channels (such as e-commerce) and new technologies (including better storage facilities) that will help reduce food losses.
- From Indian side the meeting was addressed by Minister of State (MoS) for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala.
Key Points with respect to India:
-In India, the problem of desert locust that prevailed since April 11 has now subsided after the government’s timely measures in over 10 northern states to prevent its spread. Now, India is ready to work with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN-FAO) to assist other countries in the event of recurrence and controlling migratory pests.
–India has assured FAO that it will consistently export farm products to ensure food security for all under its neighbours first’ policy during Covid-19 pandemic.
–India’s agricultural export rose by 23.24% to Rs 25,553 crore during March-June 2020.
–Agricultural exports as a percentage of India’s agricultural GDP (gross domestic product) has increased from 9.4 % in 2017-18 to 9.9% in 2018-19 while agricultural imports as a percentage of India’s agricultural GDP has declined from 5.7% to 4.9% indicating exportable surplus and decreased dependence on import of agricultural products in India.
–As per World Trade Organization (WTO) data, share of India’s agricultural exports and imports in the world agriculture trade in 2017 was 2.27% and 1.90%, respectively.
Bangladesh to host 36th FAO Asia and Pacific Regional Conference
At the close of the APRC35, the Member States agreed unanimously Bangladesh will host the next FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (36th APRC) in 2022. Bangladesh will host for the first time since its joining FAO in 1973.
- The decision marks an achievement for Bangladesh as the year 2020-2021 (March 17, 2020 to March 16, 2021) marked the centennial birthday of the Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman also known as Bangabandhu, and the year 2021 will be its 50th year of independence.
The first Regional Conference was held in Bangalore, India, in 1953. India has hosted it four times.
Participants: Government Ministers and more than 400 delegates – including private sector, civil society, academia and technical experts in the food and agriculture sectors – from 46 member countries across the Asia-Pacific region participated.
Recent Related News:
On 13th July 2020, India in partnership with Chile & FAO co-hosted the “On the road to the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021: Highlighting health and nutritional benefits through sustainable production and consumption of fruits and vegetables”, side event of 2020 High-level Political forum.
About Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
Director-General (DG)– QU Dongyu
Headquarters– Rome, Italy