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100th G20 Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists Marks Successful Conclusion in Varanasi

The G20 Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) on "Sustainable Agriculture and Food System for Healthy People and Planet" finished today in Varanasi. General (Dr.) V K Singh (Retd. ), Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Road Transport and Highways, officially opened the meeting on April 17, 2023.

Shivam Dwivedi
100th G20 Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists Marks Successful Conclusion in Varanasi
100th G20 Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists Marks Successful Conclusion in Varanasi

The summit was attended by around 80 participants from G20 member countries, invited guest countries, and international organizations. Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary (DARE) and Director General (ICAR), presided over the three-day meeting (17-19 April 2023).

The discussions centered on Innovations and Technological Interventions for Agri-Food System Transformation, Frontiers in Science and Technology for Achieving Food Security and Nutrition, and Food Security and Nutrition.

Biofortification of Food Crops to Improve Nutritional Value, Farming tropical seaweed for nutrition and blue growth MAHARISHI (Millets and Other Ancient Grains International Research Initiative), Partnerships and methods for coordinated action, as part of One Health as an Integrated and Unifying Approach Transboundary Pests and Diseases: Research and Development Priorities for Resilient Agri-Food Systems, Climate-Resilient Technologies and Innovations for Sustainable Agri-Food Systems Nature-Positive Agriculture: Science and Innovation for a Resilient Agri-Food System, Biological Nitrification Inhibition (BNI): Reducing GHG emissions while improving crop yields.

Traceability and Digital Agriculture, Digital Technological Solutions for Reducing Food Loss and Waste Pluralistic Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (EAS): collaborations to improve lab-to-land and outreach, Agri-tech Startup Ecosystem G20-Global South Cooperation for Agri-R&D, Public-Private Agri-R&D for Public Goods: Experience in Generating and Accelerating Innovations.

The meeting adopted a chair summary and conclusion document focusing on main areas of cooperation in agricultural R&D for food security and nutrition, digital agriculture, resilient agri food systems, and public-private partnerships in agricultural R&D. MACS 2023 also supported the introduction of MAHARISHI, which will comprise, among other things.

Create tools to connect researchers and institutions working on designated grain crops in order to improve research dissemination and identify research gaps and needs. To support research and information sharing, provide web platforms to link researchers, exchange data, and share communication products and thematic briefs. Organize activities to enhance capacity, as well as international seminars and conferences.

The MAHARISHI secretariat would be based at the Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) in Hyderabad, with technical assistance provided by ICRISAT, one CGIAR Centre, and other international institutions. Bilateral talks were held on the sidelines of the G20 MACS with France, the United Kingdom, Argentina, and Germany to discuss future agricultural research partnership. A bilateral meeting with the Food and Agriculture Organization was also held in Rome, Italy.

Dr. Pathak stressed during the conference that the FAO and ICAR may form collaborations to boost extension services through KVKs.Dr. Ishmahane Elouafi, FAO Chief Scientist, indicated a strong desire to expand cooperation in extension services. Dr. Selvaraju Ramasamy, Senior Agriculture Officer of FAO, attended the conference as well. A bilateral meeting between India and Germany was held to explore the difficulties of food loss and waste prevention in the SAARC region. The government made plans to provide foreign delegates arriving in Varanasi with a taste of India's rich cultural and spiritual history.

The state government and district administration made extensive and grand arrangements for providing basic amenities for delegates' movement as well as showcasing the cultural heritage and local people to delegates arriving in Varanasi from developed and developing countries around the world. During the meeting, the delegates were taken on a cruise to see the spectacular vista of Ganga Aarti, which was followed by a Welcome supper and cultural programme at Taj Ganges.

Delegates were also transported to Sarnath. They were given a tour of the ASI Museum and Buddha Stupa, as well as the Light and Sound show. Following that, attendees were treated to a cultural performance in the tranquil setting of the Buddha Theme Park. On April 19, 2023, the delegates toured the Trade Facilitation Centre and got a peek of the city's textile history as well as live demonstrations of local artists manufacturing their products.

TFC also hosted a small display of important institutes from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and State Agriculture Department, IRRI-SARC, as well as other organizations such as NDDB and APEDA. At the venue, delegates were shown live preparations of millets delicacies. Following that, a farewell dinner and cultural acts were planned. Dr. Himanshu Pathak, MACS Chair, thanked all delegates for their participation and contributions and handed over the MACS Presidency to Brazil.

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