The four-day 36th Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO Asia and the Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) wrapped up Friday in Dhaka with a report on several agricultural issues including the climate crisis.
At the conference, APRC members adopted a final report prioritizing the One Health Approach, considering the establishment of digital hubs, the creation of special funds for research, the growth of greenery, climate-tolerant agriculture, the development of sustainable agri-food systems and the importance of human, animal and environmental health.
Agriculture Minister Dr. Mohammad Abdur Razzaque said this in a view-exchanging meeting with journalists after the conference at InterContinental Dhaka today (Friday).
The agriculture minister said the impacts of climate change are ‘unthinkable’. It will affect everything in human life, but agricultural sector will suffer the most, he said.
Besides, the Covid pandemic has affected the region’s agriculture, food and economy. For which, fertilizer production has decreased, the minister added.
Razzaque said, “In this situation, new crop varieties and technologies have to be developed through research to develop a sustainable agri-food system by tackling the adverse effects of climate change and Covid pandemic. And FAO also has a huge role to play here.”
The participating countries expressed their concerns in this regard. The Maldives explained the existential threat it faces due to climate change.
At the same time, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proposed to set up a ‘Special Fund’ for research and innovation in agriculture which was included in the final report of the conference.
Besides, digitalised agriculture has gained importance in this conference. Bangladesh proposed the FAO set up a ‘digital hub’ for the countries in the region.
The digital hub will be rich in agricultural technology and innovative information from 46 countries, so that all countries can be benefitted.
Citing the example of Japan, the Minister said that Japan is using drones, robots or precision agriculture in agriculture.
The agriculture minister said a ‘One Health Approach’ has been adopted to protect the health of people, animals and the environment.
The report was finalized by identifying priorities for building “One Health approach”.
The prevalence of zoonotic or animal-to-human transmitted diseases like Covid-19 is increasing day by day. In this situation, the countries have agreed to build a one health approach in the region, said the minister.
Finally, mentioning the possibility of leading a good life in a good environment, Dr Razzque said all countries agreed at the conference to ensure the food available in Asia Pacific is safe and nutritious.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh was elected President of APRC for the next two years at the conference. The next 37th APRC conference will be held in Sri Lanka.
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder, Agriculture Secretary Md Saidul Islam and Food Secretary Nazmanara Khanum were present at the meeting.
The 36th APRC of FAO, hosted by Bangladesh for the first time, began on Tuesday with a combination of in-person and virtual participation.
The first FAO APRC was held in Bangalore of India in 1953. Bangladesh joined the organization in 1973.