New Delhi, Jun 10 (UNI) Experts and dignitaries from India and Africa have laid emphasis on the need of ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’ for sustainable future during the ICFA’s first round table conference on ‘Climate Change and Food Security in Africa: The Policy Priorities’.
The Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) in collaboration with World Bank & Department for International Development (DFID) had organised the conference here on Friday.
The round table conference was a part of India-Africa agriculture partnership.
Kathryn Hollifield, Practice Manager, The World Bank, commenting on the issue of climate change, said, ”Platforms like these can be a good forum to discuss on how climate change is impacting the agriculture both in Africa and India. Agriculture is a victim as well as the cause of global warming and climate change. But at the same time, it can be one of the saviors of the humankind.”
The round table conference served as a platform for dialogue between African delegates with their Indian counterparts on persisting issues of agriculture sector in Africa and the need for learning from the Indian experiences and models.
Speaking on the occasion, former IAS officer and ICFA Vice Chairman Alok Sinha said, ”Democratic way of governance is increasing in India but a large body of society and politicians are not able to take a stand on climate change.” The problem of climate change is acute and needs to be solved immediately, he added.
The dignitaries agreed that ensuring food security in the face of climate change will be a formidable challenge and would necessitate the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, greater emphasis on urban food security and long-term relief measures in the event of natural disasters.
Keshav Chandra, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said, “There are a lot of similarities between India and Africa, and both the countries are High Growth Regions (HGRs). India and Indian companies have extended helping hand in different parts of Africa and will continue to do so for the development of the region.”
Agriculture in Africa has an enormous social and economic activity. Agriculture today accounts for 32 per cent of gross domestic product in Africa. Despite huge opportunities, Africa’s agricultural potential remains untapped. Due to sustained neglect, Africa has gone from being an exporter of agricultural products in the 1960s to a net importer today. By 2050, Africa will be home to one-fifth of the world’s population. This rapid growth, combined with a strong trend towards urbanisation, poses significant challenges for food security, peace and security, and economic opportunity in the region.
Dr Neena Malhotra, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, “India has signed MoUs with various African countries and working on bilateral, regional and co-operational relations with these countries. Agriculture is the source of livelihood in India and Africa and both the nations have similar landscape and agricultural practices.”
Most African governments have laid aggressive policies to tackle these challenges and increased collaborations between African countries and India can solve a majority of these issues.
About 10 representatives from various African countries including Rwanda, Malawi, Botswana, Tunisia and Niger along with officials from Bangladesh and Australian High Commission were present during the round table.
Accompanying them were major corporates in the room, Dr MJ Saxena, Managing Director, Ayurvet; Mr Nitin Gupta, Vice President, Olam Agro India Pvt Ltd and Ms Sangeeta Ladha, VP- Jain Irrigation, who all are actively working in African countries towards the same issue.
Nitin Gupta, Vice President, Olam Agro India Private Limited, speaking on the occasion said, ”Climate-smart agriculture is a very pertinent topic at this juncture. Agriculture is the victim as well as a cause of global warming and climate change, but how suitably we use it to mitigate climate change that is important.” Olam has a large presence in Africa and the company has established the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) in many African countries, he noted.