Pretoria – BRICS is an important grouping to deal with the global food crisis, promote global economic recovery as well as play a crucial role in global initiatives for food security.
This is according to a joint declaration of the 3rd BRICS Ministers of Agriculture and Agrarian Development, who met in Pretoria on Tuesday to adopt tangible measures to boost domestic agricultural productivity.
The ministers also welcomed discussions aimed at establishing the Basic Agricultural Information Exchange System of BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] countries.
However, they noted that such a system should not be a duplication of the Agriculture Marketing Information System (AMIS), created under the G20 and administered by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN).
The gathering also reaffirmed its support for such a system as a platform for sharing information, and called upon technical experts in their countries to continue to work together for the development of the system.
Addressing food insecurity
With regard to addressing food insecurity, the ministers noted that all efforts must be geared towards enhancing agricultural production and adaptability of agricultural systems to climate change, especially for smallholder farmers.
They also agreed to cooperate in research, development and the application of technologies which enable agriculture to adapt to the effects of climate change.
The agreement was also extended to sharing information, policies and best practices to address common problems faced by BRICS countries in agricultural development.
It was also noted that the volatility in the price and supply of food and other commodities as well as constrained financial resources has compounded food insecurity for developing countries.
The ministers said strengthening agricultural cooperation among BRICS countries was imperative to ensure global food security and agricultural development. This would help to achieve sustainable development, eradicate poverty and realise the UN MDGs.
“(We) reaffirmed our commitment to strengthen areas of cooperation, namely, information exchange, food security, climate change, agricultural innovation and trade and investment, and gradually expand the cooperation so as to address the other challenges to food security.
“We also reaffirmed our commitment to assist other developing countries in enhancing agricultural productivity, paying particular attention to smallholder farmers, women and youth to improve world food security,” read part of the joint declaration.
The minister responsible for agriculture also welcomed the establishment of the BRICS Strategic Alliance for Agricultural Technology Cooperation, which will combine their efforts in addressing major challenges in agriculture.
The 3rd BRICS meeting also resolved to forge a stronger partnership for common agriculture and agrarian development, and endorsed the 2013/14 Calendar of Events for Agriculture Cooperation Working Group of BRICS.
Russia, India, China and South Africa thanked Brazil for its offer to host the 4th Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Agriculture and Agrarian Development in 2014. – SAnews.gov.za