28-29 December, Thimphu: Representatives from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bhutan met at Hotel Migmar to review the vegetable trials result and problems encountered by the six member countries.
The member countries initiated the vegetables adaptability trials for tomato, brinjal, okra, cucumber and pumpkin since May 2012 through the SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC), a regional centre of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The vegetables were chosen on the basis of their need and preference especially targeting small/ marginal farmers. Representatives have agreed to share the improved cultivars of five vegetables and to test the adaptability through a network approach.
Addressing the meeting, the Chief Guest, Mr. Chencho Norbu, the Director General for the forestry department talked on the diversification of vegetables in remote rural areas offering more choices to rural communities not only for home consumption, but also for sale to generate cash income. He also talked on the importance of including more vegetables with diseases resistance and high yielding characteristics.
During the meeting, the progress on the SAARC Vegetable Adaptive Trials Network (SVATNet) was shared along with the trail results from member counrties. Issues such as prioritisation of crops and problems, variety coding, research protocol and reporting format, quality of research and planting materials, good research findings, inputs supply, disease management, traits of brinjal, up-scaling the SVATNet, monitoring and evaluation, capacity development etc. were discussed and necessary recommendations were also adopted.
The meeting recommended that SAC should harmonise the variety coding system and should come up with a methods as how to analyse the data from different countries. A common research protocol and reporting format will be developed for circulation to member countries. Representatives also agreed that the seeds of exceptionally good quality and better varieties should be shared on time by the member countries. It was agreed that seed supply will take place in January and July of every year. Among many others, the meeting also felt necessary to establish a strong quarantine measures within the country so that disease do not spread from one country to another.
The SAC and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests organised the meeting, one of the important recommendations of the inception meeting held in 2011 to organise ‘Annual Review Meeting’ once a year in each member country on rotational basis where National Focal Person (NFP) and Research Team Leader (RTL) will attend.
– Compiled by ICS
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