28 December,Thimphu: Experts from Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Nepal are here in the country attending the Fifth Meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Expert Group on Agricultural Cooperation.
The BIMSTEC experts group are discussing on intensify agricultural cooperation among the member states as a follow up to the commitment made by the BIMSTEC leaders at Goa in 2016.
“Cooperation in agriculture development among the member countries is vital. What individual countries cannot achieve can be pursued jointly in partnership” said the minister Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. He further shared that the overall growth of agriculture has been relatively slow in Bhutan in the recent past. Key reasons are low levels of investments levels, lack of appropriate technology for mountain farming, predominance of subsistence farming, and lack of market access.
BIMSTEC Secretary General Mr. Sumith Nakandala shared that 12% of the region’s population or 490 million people remain undernourished, with most of them in Southern Asia. With more than 60% of the world’s hungry living in Asia-Pacific, the slower progress in the region has led to high global numbers of the chronically hungry. He further shared that the FAO study has urged the governments in Asia-Pacific region to accelerate their efforts in investing more agricultural research to produce food more efficiently and building connectivity and infrastructure in the region.
The BIMSTEC countries are primarily agrarian economies with a good share of GDP from agriculture. Agriculture remains as the key driver of economy in the region to address the challenges of food security in a situation of ever increasing food demand.
The two days meeting is held in Thimphu from 28 to 29 December 2016.
Reported by: Tandin Dorji, ICS
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