India underscores closer regional cooperation with ASEAN countries for agricultural development

Narendra Singh Tomar

The 7th ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting (AIMMAF) on Agriculture and Forestry was held virtually today. The meeting was co-chaired by the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar. Agriculture Ministers of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam also participated in the meeting.

Union Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, in his opening remarks during the meeting, reiterated Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of keeping ASEAN at the centre of India’s Act East Policy. He also emphasised on mutually close regional cooperation with ASEAN to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth for agricultural development in the region. Referring to the importance of millet (nutritional-cereals) as a nutritious food and the international nutritional-cereal year 2023, Shri Tomar urged the ASEAN member countries to support the efforts of India in increasing the production, processing, value addition and consumption of millets. Shri Tomar said that India will promote nutritious cereal products for the health and nutrition of the people. Nutritious cereals help in the creation of nutritious, with low resource requirements and more efficient agri-food systems.

In the meeting, the progress in implementation of various programs and activities under the Medium Term Action Plan of ASEAN-India Cooperation (Year 2021-2025) was reviewed. The meeting also welcomed the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations. In the meeting, the commitment to ASEAN-India cooperation in agriculture and forestry was reaffirmed. It was said in the meeting that in order to mitigate the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring a seamless flow of safe and nutritious agricultural products to ASEAN and India, It is necessary to take continuous measures under ASEAN-India cooperation for the implementation of post-pandemic recovery. Union Minister Shri Tomar committed to enhance India’s cooperation with ASEAN in food security, nutrition, climate change adaptation, digital farming, nature-friendly agriculture, food processing, value chain, agricultural marketing and capacity building.