NEW DELHI — The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has launched a programme to sustainably increase agriculture productivity and enhance food security, nutrition and farm incomes among member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
Stakeholders in the South Asian region have agreed to set up a regional seed bank, a regional facility for testing and certification of seeds and a framework for transferring plant genetic material and seeds under this programme.
India’s Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, said in a written communication to the Lok Sabha, India’s lower House of Parliament, that the ICAR programme had been named “Consortium for Scaling-Up Climate Smart Agriculture in South Asia”.
The programme also aims to bring together agricultural research centres in the SAARC region to develop and share knowledge on climate-smart technologies and best practices, the Minister said.
As part of this programme, the Indian government has “agreed to increase investment, promote research and development, facilitate technical cooperation and apply innovative, appropriate and reliable technologies in the agricultural sector for enhancing productivity to ensure food and nutritional security in the South Asian region,” Tomar added.
The ICAR is an autonomous body responsible for coordinating agricultural education and research in India, reporting to the Ministry of Agriculture. It hosts the largest network of agricultural research and educational institutes globally.
Member countries of SAARC, a regional inter-governmental organisation, are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.