‘Need cooperation among countries to ensure food supply chain’

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday said there is a necessity for a closer interaction and sharing of knowledge among Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states to keep the food supply chains functional and protect the livelihoods of the farmer producers.

“Agriculture has always been a high priority for India, as is for the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has further put the spotlight on the sector given its implications on food security and supply chains,” Tomar said as he addressed the Sixth Meeting of the Agriculture Ministers of SCO member states.

India is a full member of the SCO. The virtual meeting of the SCO Agriculture Ministers’ was held on the issue of strengthening cooperation in food security and nutrition especially in this challenging time of Covid-19 pandemic.

“India with her tremendous growth trajectory in the field of agriculture will continue to share best practices and build capacities of other developing countries, both bilaterally as well as through collaboration with international organisations so as to enable them to also become self sufficient and to ensure food security,” he said while participating virtually in the meeting that was held at Dushanbe, Tajikstan, a government release said.

“Considering that Covid-19 pandemic may have long term implications on food security and supply chain, there is a need for close interaction and cooperation among countries to keep the normal functioning of the food supply chain to safeguard food and nutritional security,” the minister said.

He also talked about the Central government’s steps to develop innovative technologies and their dissemination from ‘Lab to Land’ to empower rural youth, farmers and farm women.

Tomar mentioned that the government is determined to attain sustainable development goal to end hunger, achieve food security and nutrition and further emphasized that the bio-fortified varieties are a source of staple diets, rich in micro nutrients and are being promoted to address the aspects of malnutrition in the country.

The Indian delegation led by Tomar included the Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shobha Karandlaje and senior officials.

Minister of Agriculture of Tajikistan Ziyozoda Sulaymon Rizoi, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China Tang Renjian, SCO Secretary General Norov Vladimir Imamovich, FAO Director General Qu Dongyu and Chairman of the Food Security Committee under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan Fayzullozoda Muhammadsaid Ubaydullo and others respective members attended the meeting.