Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar has called for setting
up the proposed `SAARC Regional Food Bank'' on a priority
basis, saying it could act as an "instrument"
in providing food security to the entire region and fostering
partnership among member countries.
the first SAARC agricultural ministers'' meeting, Pawar
said the plan to set up a Food Bank is the "most
important item" on the agenda of the meet. He said
the concept papers have been discussed and it could be
set up soon.
Bank is expected to act as an instrument for food security
reserve during normal times and surely the emergencies.
It will also foster inter-country partnership and regional
cooperation," he said.
also called for streamlining agricultural credit facilities
on the lines of the "path-breaking initiatives"
taken by Bangladesh''s Gramin Bank on a regional scale.
also offered to share India''s expertise in the field of
agriculture with other SAARC nations.
he said, has made important achievements in areas such
as the revitalised extension system, marketing reforms,
application of frontier technology, horticulture and agro-processing.
said there was need for operationalising of the SAARC
Development Fund, for which India has committed to provide
$100 million. "The fund could be utilised for undertaking
a number of collaborative projects in agricultural sector,"
meeting finalised the concept paper for negotiations and
for arriving at an agreement on agricultural co-operation.
An agreement is expected to be concluded before the next
summit in April 2007.
meeting also identified areas of focus for effective research-farmer
linkages both at the national and regional levels. Setting
up of an inter-governmental core group, online discussion
groups have also
been suggested to initiate dialogue with all stakeholders,
including private sector practitioners.
meeting also decided to expand the mandate of the SAARC
agricultural information center (SAIC), Dhaka.