Proceeding of the Second BRICS Agriculture Expert Working Group Meeting held on 27-28 August, 2012 at New Delhi, INDIA

Theme - 1

China presented a proposal on “Basic Agriculture Information Exchange System”.  The proposal is developed with an objective to create an information system covering major agricultural products that are highly produced in BRICS countries and are important in International trade.   They have proposed to develop this information system covering four kinds of commodities:

  • Grain crops covering rice, wheat, maize and soybean
  • Cash crops covering sugarcane, garlic, tomato, apple and oranges
  • Animal products covering beef, chicken, pork and milk
  • Aquatic products covering tilapia and eels

Some detailed tabular statements are also proposed which can form part of the agriculture proposed AMIS.  It is further proposed that each member country shall designate an information officer to be responsible for the collection, compilation, process and research of basic agricultural information.  The working language will be English.  The designation of information will be through focal point of BRICS agriculture cooperation working group.  The frequency of updation can be once in a quarter of each year.  The information exchange among the countries can take place by way of e-mail, video conferencing, instant messaging, fax etc.  The information sharing should only be among the Ministries of Agriculture of the BRICS countries.  The ouputs of the proposed system will be in terms of :

  • Quarterly report of production, consumption and trade of major agricultural products of the BRICS countries
  • Annual report on research on agricultural policies of the BRICS countries on one selected subject.
  • Annual evaluation reports of challenges and reasons faced by BRICS countries.

It has been proposed to solicit suggestion on this proposal from the other BRICS countries and suitably modify it during the present AEWG Meeting.  The finally modified proposal be submitted to the BRICS Agriculture Ministers meeting to be held in  either in October or November, 2012.  It is proposed to have a trial operation of the system in 2013.

After the presentation of China, the countries responded to the proposal of China on AMIS.  Brazil wanted to know some more details in view of the proposed system as how the BRICS system will be integrated with the AMIS system.  Secondly, Brazil remarked that the proposed AMIS contains only four main crops.  However, the system would be expanded to other crops & items such as cotton and shrimp in the proposed information system.  It was also remarked that the dissemination system from the proposed AMIS under more clarity.

Russia appreciated the need for an information system among BRICS countries but at the same time suggested that the information base of the BRICS nations should be linked to AMIS created under the G20 in order not to duplicate.  A separate information platform is not required and a pilot BRICS module can be developed in the existed AMIS system.

South Africa supported the system.  India remarked that AMIS under G20 is already a functional system.  India has already joined existed AMIS system but the number of crops covered in the system is limited.  For covering more information under the AMIS the more number of crops can be added and information with regard to them can be added.

Regarding the accessibility of the AMIS system by only the Ministries of Agriculture of BRICS nations, it is felt that that system should be universally accessible in order to have more transparency.  However, if any country wants to keep some information confidential it can be blocked.  The periodicity of updation of the system can be on regular basis. 

To sum up the proposal after detailed discussions among various countries it is finally agreed by all the countries that the proposal of China would be fine tuned and made more elaborate & specific by incorporating the suggestion of other countries.  A mutually agreed final proposal in this regard will be prepared by China by means of e-circulation which will then be presented to the Agriculture Ministers’ Meet for final approval.  The countries are requested to send their specific comments by end of September, 2012. 

Theme – 2

 

Brazil proposed to hold seminar on “Policies and Experiences of the Members in Ensuring Food Security of the Most Vulnerable Populations”, “Modernization of Feeding Systems for the Most Vulnerable Population” and seminar on “Sustainable Intensification of Agricultural Production and Productivity of Small Holder Farmers”. 

 

The proposed seminars were discussed in the AEWG meeting and it was felt by the member countries that the issues can be discussed among the countries by means of video conferencing, e-mailing etc.  Some joint pilot models can also be evolved by means of e-consultation on emerging issues e.g. access to food for the most vulnerable population etc.  It was also agreed that seminars/conferences/workshops can be conducted on the back to back of some other important international events.  Two such regular events are the Agriculture Ministers’ Meet of BRICS countries and the BRICS AEWG Meeting.

Theme – 3

South Africa proposed a workshop to develop clear project frameworks and detailed work-plan with BRICS member countries in the end of 2012 or in early 2013.  The workshop proposed to discuss the following issues:

  • GHG emissions measurement
  • High-yielding agricultural production technologies
  • Biotechnology
  • Adaptation to climate change
  • Agricultural early warning systems
  • Climate change modeling
  • Climate information dissemination
  • Climate smart agriculture
  • Conservation farming &water saving technologies
  • Agricultural Insurance
  • Sustainable agriculture development


South Africa also proposed the following:

  • Collaborate on projects for exchange of scientific information on inventories to jointly publish ways to improve on estimations (2013-2016)
  • Development of BRICS climate change fund and how this will be utilized to enable R&D projects to develop technologies on mitigation and adaptation (2013)
  • Training and scientific exchange programmes that increase knowledge and skills (2013 onwards)

 The proposals of South Africa were discussed among the member countries.  The suggestions of South Africa were acknowledged and appreciated by all member countries and it was agreed that the specific objectives of the proposed seminar may be first worked out by means of e-consultation and then the seminar may be hosted on mutual agreement of all the countries. 

The proposal of joint collaborative projects were also appreciated by all and it was decided to move forward by discussions and consultations through video conferencing etc. and formulate joint projects.

Theme – 4

India proposed to develop a basic framework for establishing a strategic cooperation alliance on agricultural science and technology among the BRICS countries.  The framework would address the strengths of BRICS countries in terms of agricultural research, education and extension, the best practices and innovations.  India desired to have a focal point from each country for circulation of the basic framework template.  The focal points would develop a country’s position paper identifying their strengths, areas of cooperation and collaboration in research and capacity building.  The country’s position paper would also address the status of agricultural education system and prepare a comprehensive database of agricultural universities, course curriculum and the opportunities for other BRICS countries.  India would circulate the framework template in September, 2012 and request BRICS countries to return the response by the end of September, 2012 so that the final action plan can be placed before the next BRICS countries Agriculture Ministers’ Meet.  It is anticipated that some pilot joint collaborative programmes, students and faculty exchange would emerge out of this exercise.

Theme – 5

Russia offered to host AGRIBUSINESS FORUM MEET in 2015 back to back with the agriculture ministers’ meeting of BRICS countries.  Russia also suggested that in each of the countries some kind of agriculture trade and exhibitions are organized on regular basis.  To promote the trade and investment in agricultural commodities the member countries can utilize this opportunity to visit such trade fairs in each other countries.�

Another suggestion from Russia was that an AGRIEXPO involving  business partners in BRICS countries could be organized at the time of the meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Agriculture and Agrarian Development.  Russia also offered to host a seminar of BRICS countries in Moscow in 2013 covering the theme-II.  It was, therefore, proposed that Russia may consider the following trade related issues of quality assurance, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, post harvest technology, the role of producer companies and cooperatives in ensuring food access to consumers in general and most vulnerable population in particular in the proposed seminar.

Russia informed that a global conference on higher education and research in agriculture (GCHERA) is being organized in June, 2013 and invited member countries for active participation.  Russia also offered platform for other member countries to host meetings on the respective themes and in the sidelines of G20 meeting being organized in Moscow so that follow up action such as signing of MOU/collaboration among BRICS universities/institutions could be possible.

The proposals of Russia were appreciated by all the member countries and it was mutually agreed to move these suggestions for the approval of the upcoming agriculture Ministers’ meet.�

Lastly, all the countries felt the need for appointing a focal point in their respective countries for better coordination and finalization of all the above mentioned issues.