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South Asia region

Use of new tech stressed for agri sustainability

FE REPORT | November 26, 2021 00:00:00

Speakers at a programme on Wednesday laid emphasis on adopting new technologies and climate resilient coping mechanisms to make the agriculture sector in the South Asia region more sustainable.

They also said regional multi-national approach and research oriented strategic investment were also essential in this regard.

They made the observations at a ceremony to launch a new multi-country project, titled 'Consortium for Scaling-up Climate Smart Agriculture in South Asia (C-SUCSeS)', held at the BARC auditorium in the city's Farmgate area.

Guests and other participants joined the function both in person and through a virtual platform.

Four organisations - International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and SAARC Development Fund (SDF) - have launched a partnership for the project, aimed at fostering regional cooperation for sustainable and resilient agricultural adaptation.

Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture Dr Md Ruhul Amin Talukder and Additional Secretary (SAARC & BIMSTEC) to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Md Shamsul Haque attended the function as special guests.

Secretary General of SAARC Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, Director of SAARC Agriculture Centre Dr Md Baktear Hossain, and Director (ARD and SDF) of SAARC Secretariat Jamal Uddin Ahmed, among others, spoke on the occasion.

According to the project brief, agriculture has historically been a risky business, and it is becoming riskier due to climate change and its associated impacts on agri-food systems.

According to one estimate, the region could lose between 10-50 per cent of crop production by the end of the century due to global warming.

Yet, the sector is still the main source of livelihood for over 50 per cent of the population in South Asia.

Speaking on the occasion, SAARC Secretary General Esala Ruwan Weerakoon said the multi-country project was the first of its kind in the region, which had been launched at a time when climate change had emerged as a major threat to the agricultural landscape.

"Given what is at stake, the SAARC Agriculture Centre has taken this far-reaching initiative to promote sustainable and resilient agriculture intensification in South Asia," said Mr Weerakoon.

Shahidur Rashid, director for South Asia of the International Food Policy Research Institute, said the agreement provided the stakeholders a platform for collaborative efforts to generate evidence-based policy solutions that could accelerate climate-resilient and sustainable food supply in South Asia.

The consortium kicked off with an initial pilot investment of about USD 3.1 million, provided by IFAD, SAC, IFPRI and SDF.

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