Promote sustainable agriculture - Mahindananda | Daily News


Promote sustainable agriculture - Mahindananda

Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage
Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage

Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage underscored the importance of promoting sustainable agriculture through innovation including digital agriculture solutions. He was addressing the 35th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC), recently.

He reiterated that the access to and dissemination of the latest technologies and innovations are imperative to improve the productivity of the agriculture sector. Building resilient food systems, and increasing the adaptation capacity in the agriculture sector towards climate change while promoting the wise use of natural resources are also essential, the Minister stated.

Minister Aluthgamage who is heading the Sri Lankan delegation participating in the APRC welcomed the strong partnership between Sri Lanka and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), ever since the country became an FAO member nation in 1948. He stated that FAO’s technical and advisory support has helped the country immensely, to transform the agriculture sector from a livelihood sector to a dynamic income-earning production sector, a vital pillar of the national economy. The Sri Lankan delegation drew attention to the present concerns in the agriculture sector such as poor profit margin for smallholder farmers, non-availability of a proper insurance scheme for growers, the lack of improved agrochemical management and the inability to predict seasonal forecasts. FAO’s continuous technical, policy and programmatic assistance in these areas were anticipated.

Addressing the APRC, FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu stated that it is time to take full advantage of the digital age through innovative partnerships with national governments, farmers, the private sector, academia, NGOs and many others. Enabling these partnerships is the Hand-in-Hand Initiative implemented by FAO. This evidence-based, country-led and country-owned initiative aims to accelerate agricultural transformation and sustainable rural development to eradicate poverty and end hunger and all forms of malnutrition. “The initiative prioritizes countries where national capacities and international support are the most limited or where operational challenges, including natural or man-made crises, are the greatest,” stated the FAO Director-General.

The FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC) is a forum to discuss the current country and regional priorities and pressing issues in the region such as the impact of COVID-19, the state of agriculture, natural resources management, food security and nutrition.

This year Government representatives from 46 Member Nations joined the 4-day conference which commenced on September 1 through videoconferencing and more than 400 delegates participated in the meeting hosted by the Royal Government of Bhutan.